A judge in the United States has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Republican candidate Abraham Hamadeh, who challenged the election results in his race against Democrat Kris Mayes for Arizona attorney general.
The judge, Lee Jantzen of the Mohave County Superior Court, has concluded that Hamadeh failed to prove the errors in counting votes he alleges.
Friday’s verdict came after Hamadeh’s lawyer Tim La Sota admitted during a lawsuit that his client had not received enough votes to change the result of the race.
Mayes was 511 votes ahead of Hamadeh in one of the tightest elections in state history. Approximately 2.5 million votes were cast.
“They failed to comply with the burden of proof,” Jantzen told La Sota just before he handed down his verdict against Hamadeh.
As part of the lawsuit, the parties to the case were allowed to view a sample of 2,300 ballot papers. During the inspection, Hamadeh said he won a net of six votes, while Mayes claimed she had received three votes.
“If you extrapolate the figures, we won’t get 511 votes if you take the sample we have,” said La Sota, who had pushed for a larger sample size.
Hamadeh, whose race is the subject of a separate state automatic recount due to the close results, complained on Twitter about voting operations in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous district. He said his team would “await the results of the recount before deciding on our next steps.”
Andrew Gaona, a lawyer who represents Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who oversees elections in the state, said the lawsuit was a “spectacular waste of everyone’s time.”
Under Arizona law, Hamadeh was faced with the high bar of not only proving that election officials were wrong, but also that he would have won without their misconduct.
In his lawsuit, he claimed that problems with printers in Maricopa County had led to a series of problems that deprived voters of the right to vote. He also alleges that his race was affected by the improper handling of ballot papers, which were duplicated or decided by people because they could not be read by mechanical voting tabulators.
Dan Barr, a lawyer who represents Mayes, said Hamadeh did not provide any evidence to back up his claims. “What in the world are we doing here? ” Barr asked in his concluding arguments. “People can’t file complaints [about elections] without facts.”
A court hearing is scheduled for December 29 to present the results of the recounts in the races for attorney general, superintendent and a seat in the state legislature.
Another judge is considering contesting her loss to Hobbs by Republican Kari Lake in the race for state governor.