GOP seeks to postpone Maricopa County election certification

November 17, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Republican Party has asked a judge to bar Maricopa County from certifying its Nov. 3 election results, including Democrat Joe Biden’s win over President Donald Trump, until the court issues a decision about the party’s lawsuit seeking a new hand-count of a sampling of ballots.

The GOP made the request Monday night after the county revealed officials planned to approve the returns on Thursday or Friday.

A judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon. The county faces a Nov. 23 deadline for certifying its results.

The lawsuit focuses on an audit of a sampling of ballots that is required to test the accuracy of tabulated results. The county has already completed the audit and said no discrepancies were found.

But the state party still wants the sample measured on a precinct level, rather than the audit that was conducted of the county’s new vote centers, which let people vote at any location across the county.

The county has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, saying the GOP participated in the audit it now contests.

Lawyers representing the county have also argued that a postponement would affect the ability of the Secretary of State’s Office to meet its own Nov. 30 certification deadline and that it be time consuming to open bags of ballots to figure out the precincts in which they were cast.

Maricopa County spokesman Fields Moseley declined to comment on the request to postpone the certification.

In heavily Republican Mohave County, officials were scheduled to certify election results on Monday. But they instead postponed the vote until Nov. 23 in a sign of solidarity with the remaining election challenges in Arizona

“If we believe Mohave County has done an excellent job in our elections and calculations, I don’t see where that is going to make a difference,” said Jean Bishop, chairwoman of the county’s Board of Supervisors who voted for the unsuccessful proposal to certify the results Monday.

Supervisor Ron Gould said he is in no hurry to certify results as long as election lawsuits are pending.

“It leaves a more open pathway for a challenge of the elections,” Gould said of postponing the certification, which is also known as a canvas. “If we go ahead and canvas the election, then we’re saying we’re done, and that puts a different legal level on it.”