Category Archives: recounts

Georgia County Approves Automatic Hand Recounts

The Guardian:

A rural Georgia elections office run by Republicans who promote falsehoods about the 2020 election approved a motion on Monday to institute automatic hand recounts for all future elections.

The decision will require elections staff in Spalding county to hand-count each ballot, then compare those vote totals with totals reached by voting tabulation machines provided by the secretary of state. Hand counts slow certification of election results and are less reliable than tabulations carried out by machines….

Outside Georgia, other jurisdictions have tried to move to hand-counting since the 2020 election, including Cochise county, ArizonaNye county, Nevada; and Shasta county, California.

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Breaking: Kari Lake Loses Election Contest in Arizona Governor’s Race (Link to opinion)

The trial judge in this opinion found no misconduct or illegal conduct in signature verification of absentee ballots. Kari Lake loses her election contest against Katie Hobbs for Arizona’s gubernatorial race on her final remaining issues.

She can appeal, but an appeal is unlikely to succeed given these factual findings.

H/t Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

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Deeeeeeeep dive into Pinal County 2022 election counting

The final tally in the 2022 Arizona Attorney General’s race showed a margin of 280 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast — and any race that close is going to get an awful lot of scrutiny.  That’s a closer margin than in the original count: a statewide recount turned up a discrepancy of about 500 votes in Pinal County, attributed to human error.

Now Votebeat Arizona has an in-depth, long-form piece on that error – including counting problems caught the second time around that really should have been caught and reconciled the first time.

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“Arizona Supreme Court rejects most of Kari Lake’s election challenge”

Arizona Republic:

Arizona’s top court has declined to hear Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s challenge to her election loss, but kept the case alive by sending one of Lake’s claims back to a county judge to review.

Lake asked the Arizona Supreme Court to consider her case after a Maricopa County judge and state appeals court rejected her claims that she was the rightful governor, or that a new election should take place.

The former television news anchor made seven legal claims in her case, six of which the state’s top court said were properly dismissed by lower courts, according to an opinion released Wednesday written by Chief Justice Robert Brutinel.

Those included claims that tens of thousands of ballots were “injected” into the election, which Lake called an “undisputed fact” in her lawsuit, as well as alleging that problems with tabulation machines disenfranchised “thousands” of voters.

The opinion said Lake’s challenges were “insufficient to warrant the requested relief under Arizona or federal law.”

But the sixth legal claim, which has to do with Lake’s allegation that Maricopa County did not follow signature verification procedures, must receive a second look by a county judge, the court ordered. The county and appeals courts interpreted Lake’s signature-related challenge as applying to the policies themselves, not how the policies were applied in 2022, and dismissed her claim based on grounds that she filed her legal challenge too late.

But that was an error, the Supreme Court said, noting, “Lake could not have brought this challenge before the election.”…

You can find the opinion here, via Arizona’s Law.

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Breaking: Kari Lake’s Election Contest Fails in Arizona Because of Utter Failure of Proof

An Arizona trial court has ruled that Kari Lake’s attempt to contest the results of the Arizona gubernatorial election has failed because Lake utterly failed to prove that there was any intentional misconduct, much less misconduct that could have affected the outcome of the election:

It bears mentioning that because of the requested remedy – setting aside the result of the election – the question that is before the Court is of monumental importance to every voter. The margin of victory as reported by the official canvass is 17,117 votes – beyond the scope of a
statutorily required recount. A court setting such a margin aside, as far as the Court is able to determine, has never been done in the history of the United States. This challenge also comes after a hotly contested gubernatorial race and an ongoing tumult over election procedures and legitimacy – a far less uncommon occurrence in this country. See e.g., Hunt, supra. This Court acknowledges the anger and frustration of voters who were subjected to inconvenience and confusion at voter centers as technical problems arose during the 2022 General Election.

But this Court’s duty is not solely to incline an ear to public outcry. It is to subject Plaintiff’s claims and Defendants’ actions to the light of the courtroom and scrutiny of the law. See Winsor v. Hunt, 29 Ariz. 504, 512 (1926) (“It is the boast of American democracy that this is a government of laws, and not of men.”) And so, the Court begins with a review of the evidence….

After what I consider to be an overly charitable review of the evidence put on by Lake, and bending over backwards to accept the good faith of Lake’s witnesses, the court found no clear and convincing evidence of either official misconduct or anything that would call Hobb’s victory into question.

The important point here is that Lake got her day in court. She had a chance to prove her allegations and utterly, utterly failed. She cannot claim that she didn’t get a fair shot to make her case. Like Trump in 2020, Lake has nothing but inadvertent administrative errors that show neither intentional misconduct nor anything that could have swung the outcome of the case.

I don’t expect this ruling (or the likely appeal and affirmance of this ruling) to stop Lake from lying. But no one should give her claims any credence.

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“No evidence of misconduct in first day of Kari Lake election-challenge trial”

Arizona Republic:

The first day of an evidence trial based on an election-challenge lawsuit by Republican governor candidate Kari Lake raised plentiful suspicions but did not reveal evidence of the misconduct she alleged.

Lake, a Republican endorsed by former President Donald Trump, alleges in her suit that malicious acts by election officials caused “vast numbers of illegal votes” to infect the election and that Democrat Katie Hobbs was wrongfully declared the winner.

Election results showed that Hobbs beat Lake by about 17,000 votes in the Nov. 8 election. After basing her campaign on 2020 election conspiracy theories, Lake’s best chance of taking office now rests on convincing a judge she was robbed of a rightful victory.

Roughly seven hours of court proceedings on Wednesday made it clear how difficult that will be.

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“Judge orders 2-day trial in Kari Lake’s lawsuit, but dismisses some claims”

Arizona Republic:

 judge declined Monday to dismiss Kari Lake’s election challenge after oral arguments by attorneys, giving her a chance to try to prove her claims of misconduct by election officials.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson tossed eight of the claims in Lake’s lawsuit, but allowed two to remain that alleged an intentional plot by officials to manipulate the election in favor of Lake’s Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. In two separate orders, he ruled that a two-day trial will take place before Jan. 2, and that Hobbs and County Recorder Stephen Richer would be required to testify as Lake wished.

Lake has “alleged intentional misconduct sufficient to affect the outcome of the election and thus has stated an issue of fact that requires going beyond the pleadings,” the ruling stated. It continued that Lake must show at trial that the county’s printer malfunctions were intentionally rigged to affect the election results, and that the actions “did actually affect the outcome.”…

His ruling, released just before 8 p.m., dismissed eight of Lake’s 10 counts in her lawsuit. The legal doctrine of laches, which forbids claims that could have been brought much earlier in time, applies when considering the county’s signature-verification process or Lake’s claim that the Arizona Constitution’s Secrecy Clause bars mail-in ballots, he wrote.

In other dismissed counts, Lake didn’t state a claim sufficiently or asked for relief that the court could not provide such as “ordering a new election.”

But she did state a valid claim in alleging that a county employee interfered illegally with the printers, “resulting in some number of lost votes” for Lake, and she’s entitled to try to prove that, Thompson ruled.

Likewise, she made a specific allegation that an unknown number of ballots were added to the county’s total by employees of Runbeck Election Services, a Phoenix company that provides election equipment for the county, and that receipts of delivery were not maintained in violation of state law. Thompson allowed that claim to proceed, too.

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“Recount requests delay Pennsylvania election certification”


Five weeks after Election Day, winning candidates in Pennsylvania from governor to Congress are waiting for their victories to become official.

An effort that appears to be at least partially coordinated among conservatives has inundated counties with ballot recount requests even though no races are close enough to require a recount and there has been no evidence of any potential problems.

The attempt to delay certification could foreshadow a potential strategy for the 2024 presidential election, if the results don’t go the way disaffected voters want in one of the nation’s most closely contested states.

Recounts have been sought in 172 voting precincts across 40% of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. That led to nine counties missing their Nov. 29 certification deadline, though all but one has since certified.

The Pennsylvania Department of State, in a response to The Associated Press on Wednesday, gave no date for certifying the results statewide but said it planned to comply with a request from the clerk of the U.S. House to send certification documents to Congress by mid-December. Wednesday was Dec. 14.

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Arizona election contests filed

Let’s start with Attorney General candidate Abe Hamedah. He lost by 511 votes, and a recount is underway. The Arizona Republic story is here:

The lawsuit specifically states that the candidate is not making claims of fraud or nefarious actions in the election, however. That stands in stark contrast to another election lawsuit filed Friday by Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. Lake, who lost, makes claims of “intentional misconduct” related to problems at the polls.

. . .

Hamadeh and his attorney, Tim LaSota, make seven specific claims in the lawsuit:

  • That Maricopa County officials inaccurately marked some people as having voted and thus prevented them from casting ballots.
  • That Maricopa County prevented some people who could not prove their identity from casting provisional ballots.
  • That county officials from across the state inaccurately tabulated voter preferences when duplicating ballots that machines couldn’t read.
  • That the county defendants inaccurately tabulated voter preferences when adjudicating ballots.
  • That county officials improperly accepted some early ballots when the signatures on the envelopes didn’t match signatures on file for those voters.
  • That county officials improperly counted faintly marked ballots as undervotes.
  • That county officials didn’t count some provisional ballots because their voter lists were not properly maintained.

The first allegation deals with the well-documented printer problems at polling sites in Maricopa County on Election Day. The printers at many sites were not producing ballots with dark enough markings to be read by the tabulators, leaving voters with other options.

The simplest was that they could leave their ballot in something called “door 3,” a secure box where ballots are kept so workers can tabulate them elsewhere. About 17,000 ballots were submitted this way, though not all because of the printer problems.

The issues could have affected as many as 30% of polling sites and about 6% of the total Election Day ballots cast.

But if voters wanted to either go to another polling site or to instead cast an early ballot they had received in the mail, they had to “check out” of the first polling site where they tried to cast a ballot. The lawsuit asserts poll workers were either not trained or inadequately trained on how to check people out, which lead to them going elsewhere to cast provisional ballots or to turn in early ballots that were then not counted.

The lawsuit claims 126 people cast provisional ballots that weren’t counted because of this problem, and another 269 people submitted early ballots that weren’t counted, for a total of 395. It also claims a “material number” of voters were denied the chance to even cast provisional ballots later in the day because of this issue.

(While the bulk of concerns are about Maricopa County, Arizona law allows venue in any county in which a contestant (any voter) resides, and here the plaintiffs chose Mohave County.)

Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem each also filed contests, as summarized in the Arizona Republic. As Lake lost by 17,000 votes and Finchem by 120,000, you can imagine that the complaints are a bit more… sprawling, shall we say. You can see the original documents here, which includes, as the Republic described Lake’s complaint, “a laundry list of problems and allegations related to the Nov. 8 election.”

Lake’s complaint repeatedly invokes federal law, so it’s unclear if the contest will be removed to federal court, and it will be interesting to see how the Ninth Circuit would treat such a complaint.

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“G.O.P. Candidate in Arizona’s Attorney General Race Sues Over Election Results”


Abe Hamadeh, the Arizona Republican locked in a tight race to become the state’s next attorney general, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday contesting the preliminary results of an election that had already been headed to an automatic recount.

The state’s final tally from the Nov. 8 election, which was set to be certified by counties by next week, has Mr. Hamadeh just 510 votes behind the Democratic candidate, Kris Mayes — 1,254,102 for Mr. Hamadeh and 1,254,612 for Ms. Mayes. That difference was within the margin needed to force an automatic recount under state law.

Mr. Hamadeh’s lawsuit, filed in State Superior Court in Maricopa County, names as defendants Arizona’s secretary of state — Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who won the governor’s race — as well as the county recorders and boards of supervisors in the state’s 15 counties. The Republican National Committee joined Mr. Hamadeh in the suit as a plaintiff.

Mr. Hamadeh and the R.N.C., in their complaint, ask the court to issue an injunction prohibiting the secretary of state from certifying Ms. Mayes as the winner and an order declaring Mr. Hamadeh the winner. The suit argues that equipment failures and errors in the management of polling places and in ballot tabulation led to an incorrect final vote count. It says there was no “fraud, manipulation or other intentional wrongdoing,” but it claims there were mistakes that affected the final tally, given the contest’s narrow margin.

The suit asks the court to allow additional votes to be counted, including 146 provisional ballots and 273 mail-in ballots that were segregated because the election system showed they came from voters who had already cast in-person ballots. It does not seek a rerun of the election, though it does claim that Mr. Hamadeh should be declared the winner. By state law, Arizona’s secretary of state is required to certify the results of the election by Dec. 5.

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“She won a local election in a landslide. A conservative activist launched a recount anyway”

From the LA Times, yet another example of the difficulties that come with serving as an election official these days:

Last month, Natalie Adona won her race to become the clerk-recorder and registrar of voters in rural Nevada County with 68% of the vote — nearly 15,000 votes ahead of the man who came in second place.

But despite Adona’s landslide victory, the race will be the subject of a potentially lengthy hand recount.

It is expected to take 38 days, cost more than $82,700, and require the hiring of temporary workers to count nearly 38,000 ballots.

And it is being funded by Randy Economy, a leader of the unsuccessful Republican-backed effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom last year.

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Breaking & Analysis —Commonwealth Court Issues Injunction in PA Republican Primary Recount

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of Dave McCormick’s petition for a “judicial declaration that ‘timely returned absentee and mail-in ballots may not be rejected due solely to the lack of a date in the declaration on the exterior envelope’” and a special injunction directing various county boards to count such ballots. McCormick argued both state and federal grounds, maintaining that “the dating provisions set forth in Sections 1306(a) and 1306-D(a) of the [PA] Election Code are not material to determining the qualifications of that voter under federal and Pennsylvania law.” In terms of the state law ground, McCormick emphasized that the Pennsylvania Constitution requires that “the Election Code is to be liberally construed so as not to deprive voters of their right to elect a candidate of their choice.”

The Commonwealth Court ruled McCormick is likely to succeed on the merits with respect to both arguments–ordering counties, inter alia, “to provide two vote tallies to the Acting Secretary, one that includes the votes from those ballots without a dated exterior envelope and one that does not” so that “when a final decision on the merits of whether the ballots that lack a dated exterior envelope must be counted or not, the Acting Secretary will have the necessary reports from the County Boards.”    

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