A political catfight erupted Monday night within the Maricopa County Republican Party, and when the dust settled the organization was left without a chairperson.
Chairwoman Rae Lynne Chornenky resigned her position Tuesday after coming under fire from Rep. Kelly Townsend (LD16) for failing to attend the county’s Oct. 6 logic & accuracy test session of election equipment in advance of the Nov. 3 General Election. Known as LA testing, the process involves verifying the county’s election equipment reads and accepts only the correct ballots and then accurately reports the number of votes cast for each candidate or race.
Chornenky is a former assistant attorney general and criminal prosecutor who also spent several years as a superior court judge. Townsend issued a public demand for her resignation on Monday after learning of the missed test session, which was attended by the Maricopa County Democratic Party.
In one tweet, Townsend noted “Head’s the word, Roll’s the action,” while in another she stated Chornenky’s inaction “has contributed to the collapse of Arizona voter confidence.”
In response, Chornenky tweeted she would resign when Townsend sprouted “even an ounce of integrity and obtain the intelligence to check your facts before spreading filth about a person whom you don’t know on a topic about which you have not the slightest clue.”
However, she did tender her resignation as party chair on Tuesday.
It’s unclear whether Chornenky received notice of the planned Oct. 6 LA testing, but Maricopa County, like all counties, gives advance notice of their testing plans so interested members of the public can attend.
According to the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is responsible for certifying the election equipment used by the state’s 15 counties. Hobbs also works directly with each county election director to ensure the LA testing is conducted and that a 100 percent accuracy result is obtained. Otherwise the equipment cannot be put into use.
Townsend provided no proof that anything shady occurred during last month’s LA testing, but the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has received more than 1,000 complaints about difficulties on Election Day with tabulation machines throughout Maricopa County.
And a county judge will hold an evidentiary trial Thursday on allegations by President Trump’s campaign and two Republican groups that “potentially thousands” of voters had ballots rejected by tabulation machines.
Another of Chornenky’s duties as party chair was to select observers who are allowed into the county’s election department to watch as ballots are tabulated. Townsend and others in the party have alleged that Republicans observers have not been monitoring the vote count, but have provided no evidence of those claims.
Townsend, who was elected last week to the State Senate, has also called on Gov. Doug Ducey to bring legislators back to the Capitol for a special session so that an audit of all election ballots can be conducted and “counts adjusted” as needed.