Friday, November 28, 2014

READ, MCSALLY/BARBER #AZ02 COUNT/RECOUNT/LEGAL: Judge Denies Barber TRO Request; "Garden Variety Election Irregularities" Not Enough To Delay Certification

Arizona's certification of the election results on Monday was green-lighted - and the federal lawsuit filed by Rep. Ron Barber's (D-CD2) campaign in the contentious #AZ02 election count was slow-tracked - on Thanksgiving by U.S. District Court Judge Cindy Jorgenson, when she denied the request for a Temporary Restraining Order.

Barber's  campaign filed the legal action on Monday to ask the Court to order that at least 133 voters have their ballots counted before the December 1 certification.  Their ballots were disqualified by Pima and Cochise Counties, allegedly because of errors or incorrect information provided by election workers.

GOP challenger Martha McSally currently holds a 161-vote lead, heading into a legally-mandated automatic recount.  The Secretary of State is slated to certify the vote this coming Monday, with the recount to follow.

In her 15-page ruling, Judge Jorgenson found that Barber's campaign did not prove that there were "pervasive errors" in mishandling the 133 voters' ballots, saying that "garden variety election irregularities" were not enough, even when they could effect the outcome of a race.  She also determined that delaying the certification would cause more hardship to the state and to other voters than not delaying would cause to Barber.

The attorneys for Barber and McSally traded increasingly-provocative legal memoranda before the hearing. The Barber attorneys pointedly refuted one McSally argument by saying that it "might pass muster in Wonderland", and (separately) stated that their opponent's position is "...frankly offensive to the most basic principles of our democratic system of government.

In return, McSally retorted this morning, saying that "Through the hyperbole of Plaintiffs' Response...the glaring holes in Plaintiffs' case cannot be missed" and called Barber's arguments "sensational and speculative".

(Arizona attorney Paul Weich handles election law and campaign finance matters, and contributed to this article.)

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