Republican Party officials in Arizona have accused Adrian Fontes, the Maricopa County recorder, of “premeditated destruction of evidence” in a lawsuit the GOP filed alleging irregularities in the in the early-ballot signature verification process.
The allegations are being echoed in Washington by Donald Trump.
Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
The lawsuit relates to the Arizona Senate race, where the GOP candidate, Rep. Martha McSally, saw an early lead evaporate as up to half million early voting ballots and provisional ballots are being counted. Her opponent, Rep. Krysten Sinema, currently holds a lead of about 9,000 votes with about 400,000 votes yet to be counted.
With most of the votes yet to be counted originating in Democratic Maricopa County, Republicans want a fair shake from Fontes, a Democrat. Will they get it?
Earlier, Trump told reporters it was “interesting” that the extended vote-counting “always seems to go the way of the Democrats.”
“Now, in Arizona, all of a sudden, out of the wilderness, they find a lot of votes,” Trump said. “And she’s — the other candidate — is just winning by a hair.”
Sorry, Mr. President, but that’s nonsense. The votes didn’t come “out of the wilderness.” They’ve been there the whole time and have yet to be counted — as is the case in every other election.
This is unlike the Florida ballot counting in the Senate and governor’s race. There, in Broward County, the supervisor of elections, Brenda Snipes, is either an incompetent fool or should be charged with voter fraud.
During his press conference announcing a lawsuit against Broward and Palm Beach counties, Governor Rick Scott said, “On election night, Broward County said there were 634,000 votes cast. At 1 a.m. today, there were 695,700 ballots cast on election day. At 2:30 p.m. today, the number was up to 707,223 ballots cast on Election Day. And we just learned that the number has increased to 712,840 ballots cast on Election Day.” Nothing to see here. Move along
But Arizona Republicans have questions about verifying the legality of the votes that have yet to be counted. Fontes is apparently violating established procedures. USA Today:
Fontes has argued that verifying the signatures ensures all legitimate votes are counted. Republicans say the practice is inconsistent because other county recorders don’t try to verify ballots with mismatched signatures beyond Election Day.
Election laws and procedures are in place to give people confidence that their vote is counted and that the results are fairly arrived at. They are not a state secret. Mr. Fontes was hired and is presumably paid to know the rules intimately and follow them to the letter. If he is incapable of doing so, he must be replaced immediately to avoid any taint whatsoever of partisanship — even if he’s a simple ignoramus who doesn’t know the law.