Hamadeh’s bid for attorney general continues as he seeks new trial

Hamadeh’s bid for attorney general continues as he seeks new trial

Hamadeh, Mayes, election, election deniers, Trump, attorney general, judge, Mohave County Superior Court, Maricopa County, Republicans, Democrats, election challenge
Republican Abe Hamadeh, candidate for Arizona attorney general, took part in a televised debate against Democrat Kris Mayes on Sept. 28. Hamadeh’s bid for attorney general marches on as he filed a motion for a new trial, citing vote total discrepancies revealed in Pinal County’s recount as grounds to revisit ballots. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)

Abe Hamadeh’s bid for attorney general marches on as he filed a motion for a new trial, citing vote total discrepancies revealed in Pinal County’s recount as grounds to revisit ballots. 

The recount report to the court on Dec. 29 thinned attorney general-elect Kris Mayes’ victory from 511 to 280 votes, finding 392 more votes for Hamadeh and 115 for Mayes in Pinal County.  

Hamadeh argues the Secretary of State and Pinal County “withheld” the disparity that could have swayed the judge to allow a further inspection of ballots in his election contest.  

He now claims, with that expanded opportunity for inspection in a new trial, he and his attorneys may be able to present the evidence finding the race in his favor, allowing him to unseat Mayes. 

“I am not asking the Court to alter the vote totals or election results on a whim,” Hamadeh said in a statement. 

Mayes was sworn in as attorney general on Monday. But attorneys for Hamadeh now are seeking a trial outside the bounds of an election contest timeline, citing a 1916 Arizona Supreme Court case where an incumbent governor was installed in office, unseating his opponent once the court found the initial vote count to be inaccurate a year later.  

The filing claims irregularities in proceedings, errors of law and “newly discovered material evidence that could not have been discovered and produced at the trial with reasonable diligence” to compel a new trial. 

“Now that everyone knows what the Secretary of State knew before trial, Contestants simply ask that we be given the opportunity to…conduct a physical inspection and hand count of ballots that – if the Pinal County issue repeats itself anywhere else in the State – could be outcome determinative in this election,” the filing reads.  

Mayes, Hamadeh, Dan Barr, election contest, Maricopa County, Mohave County, voters, ballots, tabulation, Election Day
Democrat Kris Mayes, the state’s new attorney general (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Hamadeh has led the charge in claiming then Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, as well as members of the Pinal County elections department and Board of Supervisors, withheld information.  

He tweeted that Hobbs “intentionally misled the judge.” And in the filing, his attorneys found Hobbs knew about the discrepancies, “yet, they were not made known to the public until after this matter was tried.”  

What the filing fails to mention is all parties involved in the recount were under a court order barring them from discussing recount results at the time of Hamadeh’s trial. 

Some have suggested the Pinal County attorney, or members of Board of Supervisors or elections department, could have directed the information to either of the judges overseeing the recount and Hamadeh’s case.  

But in a Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, Kent Volkmer, county attorney, said the court’s order required “absolute radio silence.”   

Volkmer, and elections director Geraldine Roll, ironed out the timeline in discovering the errors in Pinal County.  

Roll took over as elections director on Dec. 5. Her predecessor Virginia Ross oversaw the 2022 general election.   

Pinal County canvassed its election on Nov. 21, a week before the statutory deadline to certify.  

At the time, the only inconsistency the county had located was 60 voters whose IDs did not populate on the check-in tablets, though it found they were still able to vote.  

A week later, while preparing for the recount, the elections department found the number of people checked in did not match the number of ballots in the boxes.  

They then decided to open the box to count and rerun ballots from inconsistent precincts, launching a deeper investigation on Dec. 1.  

The court order took effect on Dec. 5, instructing county officials to, “keep confidential any information” related to the recount.  

Hamadeh filed his election contest on Dec. 9.  

Pinal County alerted the Secretary of State’s office of emerging discrepancies on Dec. 7 and ran three recounts before submitting a final discrepancy report on Dec. 21 and the final recount results on Dec. 22.  

The results of the recount were initially due Dec. 22, but the Secretary of State ordered a continuance, delaying the release of results until Dec. 29.  

Hamadeh lost his election contest on Dec. 23. Judge Lee Jantzen ruled from the bench, finding Hamadeh had not met his burden of proof.  

In ballot inspection, representatives for Hamadeh were only able to find about six votes for Hamadeh in Maricopa County in the 2,600 ballots inspected.  

“Bottom line is you just haven’t proven your case,” Jantzen said. 

Hamadeh now seeks to stay the order from Jantzen and claims this time around he can prove his case given adequate time for discovery. 

Dan Barr, attorney for Mayes, filed for sanctions, finding Hamadeh and his counsel, “attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election based on nothing more than speculative ‘information and belief.’” 

“Despite their unwarranted fishing expedition, they failed to find any support to establish their unfounded claims,” Barr wrote. 

Barr said he does not see the attempts to stir a new trial to see success, noting “this election denial nonsense has to come to an end.”  

“At this point, it’s just pathetic,” Barr said. “The votes have been counted twice. The ultimate result hasn’t changed. It’s time to move on.”