Supporters of Donald Trump are peppering Gov. Doug Ducey with demands that he decertify the election even though he says there’s no legal authority for him to do that.
Ducey press aide C.J. Karamargin reported that the governor got about 300 emails each day on Saturday and Sunday calling for him to act.
“It is more than we receive on vaccines, masks, border issues, refugees,” he said. “This tops the level of constituent interest those issues have.”
And those demands come despite the governor’s statements, repeated most recently Friday following the release of findings from the Senate-ordered audit of the 2020 Maricopa County returns, that there is no way to do what they are demanding.
The move comes on the heels of a recount of Maricopa County ballots which showed that the results were accurate and the Democrat outpolled the incumbent Republican. In fact, the hand count actually increased Biden’s lead by a bit.
But Trump supporters are hanging on other conclusions by Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, that there are discrepancies between other numbers the county reported and what the auditors were able to find. These range from 23,344 mail-in ballots received from someone at a prior address to 9,041 more ballots returned from voters than were received.
And, along with other questions raised, those raising objections point out that there are enough of these questionable votes to more than overcome the 45,109 margin of victory by Biden in the state’s largest county — and, by extension, overturning the 10,457 edge the Democrat had statewide.
Then there are questions of whether election files were deleted.
County officials provided a point-by-point rebuttal of the findings.
But this clearly isn’t over. And the main thrust has been to decertify the election.
Among the loudest voices is Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, who is running for secretary of state.
“We’ve got false numbers,” Finchem told Steve Bannon, a former Trump aide, in a televised interview. And that, he said, allows Arizona to “reclaim” its 11 electors.
“There is no law that allows for decertification,” Karamargin said. “It’s simply not possible.”
Finchem, however, remains unconvinced
“I don’t think that Ducey knows what this document means,” Finchem said, holding up a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution. And it starts, he said, with the Tenth Amendment which says that powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people.
“At the same time, there is a legal doctrine that says a right of action cannot arise out of fraud,” Finchem said. “Well, they signed a fraudulent document based on bad numbers,” he said, meaning the certification of the election signed Nov. 30 by Ducey, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
Nor is he swayed by the hand count which supports the official count, saying that is irrelevant if there were counterfeit ballots.
“And that’s exactly what happened here,” Finchem said.
He is not alone.
Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, is echoing the same sentiment.
And Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, produced a memo from Matt DePerno, a Michigan attorney running for attorney general there, who said that the legislature has the authority to recall state electors or decertify a national election “upon proof of fraud.”
“Importantly, this does not require proof of all of the fraud,” said DePerno, whose candidacy was just endorsed by Trump.
Others, including Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, who hired Cyber Ninjas to review the election results, aren’t buying it.
“There’s really nothing in the Constitution that says we can decertify,” she said, though Fann conceded that won’t stop any legislator from proposing such a resolution.
“I mean, look at the legislation we do sometimes,” she noted.
But, legal issues aside, Fann said this just isn’t going to happen. And it starts with the fact that it would take 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate to approve such a measure — the exact bare margin that Republicans have in each chamber.
“And you and I both know we don’t have 31 and 16 votes for anything right now,” she said, with several Republican lawmakers already having disassociated themselves from the whole audit. That includes Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, who chairs the Government Committee, disavowing the whole audit after saying that Fann “botched” it.
Even among GOP lawmakers, Fann said some are likely to balk at such a move until “they are 100% sure that we have information that would have changed the results.” She said the only way that could happen is if Attorney General Mark Brnovich, to whom she has sent the audit report, verifying the audit report.
And even that might not be enough.
“There’s going to have to be a jury that rules or a court that rules,” and comes up with a finding that there were votes cast that affected the outcome of the election.
House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, reached a similar conclusion last year when he denied permission for Finchem to have a special hearing of his Committee on Federal Relations to see if the Republican-controlled House could overrule the public vote and choose its own electors to send to Washington, presumably supporting Trump. He said Arizona law is clear and that the electors are selected by the certified voter count, what occurred Nov. 30.
“What happened on the 30th was the culmination of a process,” Karamargin said. “And that process saw election results being certified in each of Arizona’s 15 counties,” many of which Karamargin pointed out are Republican counties.
There was a proposal earlier this year by Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix, to allow the legislature to override the popular vote and choose electors. But it failed to even get out of a single committee.
The push to decertify Arizona’s election results actually is part of a broader national strategy.
Denying Arizona’s 11 electoral votes to Biden, by itself, would not change the outcome of the November race. But Trump supporters are pushing similar audits — and decertification maneuvers — in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, both states that went for Biden.
The aim is to reduce his electoral margin below the required 270, a move that would throw the vote for president into the U.S. House.
What makes that critical is that the vote in the Democrat-controlled House would not be by individual members.
Instead, each state delegation gets one vote. And that would give Republicans 26 votes
Potentially more interesting is that the Senate gets to select the vice president, with each senator getting one vote. With a 50-50 tie — and presumably Vice President Harris unable to cast the breaker — that leaves a deadlock if there is no deal to provide a majority to either.