In Arizona, election deniers refuse to back down

As Arizona counties face a Monday deadline to certify their midterm election results, Republican candidates and activists promoting false theories of voter fraud are refusing to back down.

State Senator-elect Jake Hoffman, head of Arizona’s Freedom Caucus, a group of largely pro-Trump Republican state lawmakers, told Reuters he will lead an investigation into the state’s election when the legislature reconvenes in January.

Right-wing activist Steve Bannon, a former Trump administration official and promoter of election conspiracy theories, said voting machine mishaps on the Nov. 8 Election Day tainted Democrat Katie Hobbs’ victory over Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor who has refused to concede.

Hobbs “will never be considered legitimate,” said Bannon, who has been providing Lake counsel. “That’s going to cripple her ability to govern. So that’s why this is a crisis. There’s a crisis for the entire state.”

Lake, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, was one of dozens of Republican candidates who questioned or denied the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and lost in the midterms.

The defeat of Lake and other election deniers was seen as a powerful rebuke of candidates who echoed Trump’s myths of a stolen election.

Lake, however, has remained defiant after her 17,116-vote loss.

“We know we WON this election and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure that every single Arizonan’s vote that was disenfranchised is counted,” Lake said in an interview posted on her Twitter account on Saturday.

Lake’s team filed a lawsuit in state court on Wednesday against Maricopa County, demanding information on voters whose ballots were affected by voting machine problems. Her Republican colleague, Abe Hamadeh, who ran for attorney general and lost by 510 votes, has filed a lawsuit against his Democratic opponent as well as state and local officials, seeking to overturn his defeat.

In Maricopa County, tabulators at 71 of 223 polling stations were unable to read ballots because of printer ink problems on Election Day.

County officials said the issue was quickly addressed. Affected voters could deposit ballots in a secure on-site container called “box three” or wait for another ballot or travel to another polling center.

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