On Thursday, the Arizona Republican Party announced it has secured the services of Phoenix attorney Kory Langhofer’s firm, Statecraft LLC, to perform an audit of Arizona’s 2018 General Election, which has been mired in controversy.
According to the Party’s announcement Statecraft will join Phoenix attorney Stephen Richer in reviewing the actions of the Maricopa County Recorders Office. “Specifically the investigation will research and report on 1) the Recorder’s decision to open emergency voting centers prior to Election Day, 2) Election Day voting procedures and challenges, 3) the ballot counting and results reporting process, and 4) allegations of fraud in the election.”
Critics say the announcement is little more than a publicity stunt to shore up support for AZ GOP chairman Jonathan Lines, who was “AWOL” during much of this election cycle.
The AZGOP claims the “independent audit will analyze the Recorder’s compliance with applicable state and federal law and review all available all documents” and hopefully “produce a fair, factually-based report that will help us better understand what happened in this drawn-out election and address the many concerns of the voters.”
The controversy started before polls even opened. In one bizarre situation, voters were diverted to City Hall to cast their votes after a polling site building had been foreclosed upon and locked-up by authorities the night before.
UPDATE: We are advising voters assigned to the Polling Place at 2031 N. Arizona Ave in Gila Precinct to use the Chandler City Hall Vote Center, at 175 S. Arizona Ave, Chandler due to building access issues. We will keep you posted. #Vote #ElectionDay
— Adrian Fontes (@RecorderFontes) November 6, 2018
Fox 10 News reported later in the day, that Fontes admitted that 72 polling places out of 503 were not ready for voters.
Since the election last Tuesday, numerous Arizona voters, who legally cast ballots are claiming their votes were not counted after checking the Recorder’s website.
One group of people, who appeared to have a great deal of help casting their votes were those residents, who are not legal citizens and used the federal form to vote. The federal form does not ask immigration status. However using the form limits registrants to voting only in federal races. Many believe much of those votes may have tipped the results of the U.S. Senate in favor of Rep. Krysten Sinema.
The results of the Sinema/McSally race were especially surprising to politicos given the fact that Governor Doug Ducey easily beat his challenger David Garcia. That race would not have been included on ballots received by federal form registrants.
“Just received this about people who have registered to vote without establishing citizenship,” Arizona State Rep. Kelly Townsend posted on Facebook on Thursday. “In 2015, the number was only 1135, but now the numbers have grown and could significantly impact the outcome of our elections. Here is what the AZSOS emailed in response to my inquiry:
There are approximately 5,300 individuals who have registered through the federal registration form where an ID was established but not citizenship. In addition, there are approximately 7,000 folks whom only completed the federal registration form. Please note that Maricopa County keeps their own voter registration data rolls and the “federal only” rolls are not incorporated state voter registration rolls. *We will not know until December when the histories are completed on the amount of votes that were cast under the bifurcated process (i.e. fed only races).
Combined total of non-Maricopa federal only registered voters is approximately 12,300.
“The count above does not include Maricopa’s “federal only” voters, as they maintain information in their own voter registration system and is not pushed to the state voter registration system for us to pull data from,” explained Townsend. “Those numbers would have to be obtained directly from Maricopa.”
The emergency voting centers were kept open over the weekend in predominantly democrat neighborhoods, in violation of Arizona law. Sinema’s camp were directing voters to the emergency voting centers. While ballot harvesting is illegal in Arizona, the voting centers served as quasi-ballot harvesters.
“I have reached out to Maricopa County to request the number of people registering to vote without proof of citizenship and I was told that I must submit a public records request. Hopefully, they will be expedient in getting me those numbers. My suspicion is that the number is exponentially larger than the 12,300 people registered to vote outside Maricopa County using a federal ballot,” said Townsend. “I believe there should be more transparency for the public in finding out the status of these voters, and I intend to address that and several other election issuers in the next legislative session.”