ARIZONA NEWS

McSally campaign CEO: ‘Purposeful misconduct’ in Senate race

Nov 13, 2018, 12:45 PM | Updated: 2:20 pm
Arizona Republican senatorial candidate Martha McSally, speaks with voters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, ...

Arizona Republican senatorial candidate Martha McSally, speaks with voters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at Chase's diner in Chandler, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — As the 2018 midterm election stretched into a days-long event and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema grew her lead in the race for U.S. Senate in Arizona, the McSally campaign distanced itself from claims of voter fraud and other election-related conspiracy theories pushed by the state Republican Party and President Donald Trump.

But shortly after the race was called by The Associated Press in favor of Sinema on Monday, McSally’s campaign CEO Jim Bognet took to Twitter to highlight the “multiple instances of electoral irregularities in Arizona, including extreme incompetence and possible purposeful misconduct in Maricopa County.”

In a series of tweets, Bognet pointed to a lawsuit filed by four county Republican parties — Maricopa, Apache, Navajo and Yuma counties — shortly before Election Day as evidence for the “irregularities.”

The lawsuit alleged the state’s 15 county recorders don’t follow a uniform standard for allowing voters to adjust problems with their mail-in ballots, and that two counties improperly allow those fixes after the election.

Maricopa County Republican Party Chairman Chris Herring told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes last week that the county sued for equal protection for all voters under the 14th Amendment.

“You can’t give one American one set of rules for voting and another person another set of rules in the same jurisdiction,” he said. “That’s what is happening in Arizona.”

The lawsuit was settled shortly after in Maricopa County Superior Court, when it was determined that all 15 of Arizona’s counties had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to “cure” early ballots that were submitted with signatures that didn’t match the voter registration signatures.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes told Mac & Gaydos after the settlement was reached that it was an “affirmation” of his office’s practices.

“It’s what I proposed early on. I am very glad we are all on the same sheet of music,” he said.

President Donald Trump was among the prominent Republicans to allege voting fraud in Arizona. He tweeted about “electoral corruption” on Nov. 9, due to mismatching signatures.

The Arizona Republican Party also alleged that Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes deliberately destroyed evidence to cover up “voting irregularities” as the county moved to count thousands of ballots after Election Day.

Chairman Jonathan Lines said the party sent a formal, written request to all the county recorders in Arizona, including Fontes, requesting that all evidence of “irregularities” be preserved after they were discovered during the early voting period.

Lines pointed to the use of emergency voting centers and an “inconsistent method” for counting early ballots as some of the irregularities. Lines said the party informed Fontes that there may be a legal challenge based on the irregularities and that state law required county recorders to set aside the disputed ballots during the legal process.

But elections officials said the reason that mail-in ballots dropped off on Election Day — which totaled 320,000 — take so long to verify is because they are double-checked with votes cast at the polls to confirm no one voted twice.

Despite all of the claims of voter fraud made by Republicans, McSally herself did not engage with the rumors following up to or after Election Day. Shortly after it was announced that she lost her Senate bid to Sinema, McSally conceded the race in a Twitter video, featuring her beloved dog, Boomer.

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McSally campaign CEO: ‘Purposeful misconduct’ in Senate race