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Judge dismisses Trump’s suit over ballots in metro Phoenix

November 14, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit seeking the manual inspection of ballots in metro Phoenix after the campaign’s lawyers acknowledged that the small number of ballots at issue wouldn’t change the outcome of how Arizona voted for president.

The campaign had sought a postponement of Maricopa County’s certification of election results until ballots containing overvotes — instances in which people voted for more candidates than permitted — were inspected.

Only 191 overvotes were cast in the presidential race in Maricopa County. Democrat Joe Biden has an advantage of about 10,000 votes over Trump in Arizona, with 1,700 ballots left to count across the state.

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The campaign’s lawsuit alleged tabulators rejected some ballots due to ink splotches and that poll workers either pressed a button on the device to override the error, resulting in some ballot selections being disregarded.

Election officials said Trump’s claims were baseless and intended to undermine confidence in the election results.

Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office has called Trump’s challenge a repackaged version of the now-dismissed #Sharpiegate lawsuit over the use of markers to complete Election Day ballots in Maricopa County.

Maricopa County has two election lawsuits remaining.

The lawyers behind the Sharpiegate lawsuit filed a new challenge Thursday night that includes two of the plaintiffs from the earlier case.

The new case emphasizes Sharpies far less and requests that one of the plaintiffs get to recast her vote after she said a tabulator rejected it on Election Day and poll workers denied her request for another ballot. It also asks that certain vote-counting locations be made open to public inspection in future elections.

In another lawsuit filed Thursday, the Arizona Republican Party is seeking a court order to change how Maricopa County conducts a hand-count audit of a sampling of ballots as a quality control measure.

The party wants the sample measured on a precinct level, rather than among the county’s new vote centers, which let people vote at any location across the county. It’s unclear whether the party is seeking a new audit or a re-tabulation of the audit that the county completed on Nov. 9.

County election officials declined to comment on the remaining lawsuits, both of which have hearings scheduled for Monday.

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This story has been corrected to show Maricopa County has two remaining Election Day legal challenges, not one.