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GOP lawmaker asks AG to probe fraud claims

Maricopa County elections officials count ballots behind boxes of counted ballots, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, at the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Maricopa County elections officials count ballots behind boxes of counted ballots, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, at the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

A member of the ad-hoc panel that heard 10 hours of allegations of election fraud on Monday now wants the attorney general to investigate.

Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, sent Mark Brnovich a link Tuesday to the YouTube video of the unofficial hearing asking that he “investigate each claim made” by a parade of witnesses. These range from people who contend they saw something amiss in processing ballots to statistical experts who contend there is no way that President Trump could have lost Arizona and that Democrat Joe Biden could have gotten as many votes as the official count says he tallied.

And she wants some response in the next 24 to 48 hours.

So far, Townsend told Capitol Media Services, there hasn’t been a lot of response.

“They told me … they needed something solid,” she said. “And now, here it is.”

Townsend, who heads the House Committee on Elections, said it’s questions like those just raised that led her to push last year for creation of the Election Integrity Unit within Brnovich’s office.

Kelly Townsend

Kelly Townsend

Lawmakers allocated $530,000 for its operation. And it has been operating since early this year, starting with the presidential preference primary in March.

Instead, Townsend said she has been told that none of the allegations forwarded to the office have been acted upon because there’s no proof that something illegal has occurred. That, she said, makes no sense.

“I think where there’s smoke you have to go find the fire,” Townsend said.

“We provided them smoke,” she continued. “And they need to go and find the fire.”

Townsend said she’s prepared to accept the conclusion of the AG’s office if investigators look into the complaints and find there are no violations.

“And if there’s one, deal with it,” she said. “But to say that there’s nothing here to look at is hogwash.”

A spokesman for Brnovich declined to respond to Townsend’s allegations. Ryan Anderson said his office will send a response to the lawmaker within her deadline.

But it may be difficult for any investigator at any level to use what came out of the Monday hearing as any sort of basis for an investigation, much less provide some proof.

None of the Arizonans who spoke were under oath. And all the questioning came either from lawmakers like Townsend who said they are convinced there was fraud in the just-completed election or from presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani.

And some of the witnesses actually were brought to Arizona by Giuliani and his team, which has been going from state to state in a bid to convince lawmakers that the election was rigged and that they should act to overturn the reported popular vote and instead select people who would cast the state’s 11 electoral votes for the president.

Townsend, in her request to Brnovich, made reference to that possibility, citing a provision of the U.S. Constitution.

“It is our duty to select electors for the presidential election,” she wrote. “And I am not confident that fraud did not exist in the 2020 general election.”

Townsend, who will be a state senator next year, told Brnovich that the video is “initial evidence,” promising to follow up with an itemized list of the contents.

Her bid for Brnovich to investigate comes as U.S. Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”

Trump himself did not respond to the comments of his attorney general. But Giuliani, who has been the chief proponent of claims of widespread fraud, said that as far as he is concerned “there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the allegations of fraud raised by the president.







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