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Abe Hamadeh files 2nd concurrent lawsuit challenging 2022 Arizona election results

Republican Abe Hamadeh has filed yet another lawsuit contesting his loss in last year’s Arizona Attorney General election. 

The lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court alleges that Election Day tabulation issues at voting centers throughout Maricopa County disenfranchised enough voters to change the results of some elections, including Hamadeh’s 280-vote loss to Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes.

An outside investigation led by retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor found that the roughly 17,000 ballots were impacted by issues with some printers, which “could not maintain the heat required to consistently print ballots dark enough to be read by the on-site tabulators.”

But county election officials said no one was disenfranchised because affected voters were able to place their ballots in a secure box. Those ballots were later counted at the county’s elections headquarters. 

Hamadeh’s new lawsuit, filed in conjunction with a group called AZ Voters Rights, claims as many as 20% of potential voters were not able to cast ballots due to the Election Day printer problems. The filing by attorney Ryan Heath includes testimony from four voters who claim they were disenfranchised. 

Three of those voters attested that voting centers within a reasonable distance of their homes had extremely long lines due to the printer issues. One of those voters claimed health issues prevented her from waiting in long lines.

A fourth voter put his ballot in the secure box provided by the county but still did not believe his vote was counted, according to the lawsuit.

Heath, Hamadeh’s attorney, asked the court to find that Maricopa County failed to properly test its voting equipment prior to the election and rerun the election.

The new litigation is the latest in a slew of attempts to overturn or re-run Arizona’s 2022 elections. So far none of those lawsuits have been successful, including those filed by Hamadeh, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Heath.

The new lawsuit comes even as Hamadeh, who is also running for Congress in Congressional District 8, is waging a parallel challenge to his loss. He is asking the state Court of Appeals to order Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen to grant him a new trial in his unsuccessful election contest filed in that court. 

Hamadeh contends Jantzen acted improperly at the first trial by limiting the amount of time the 2022 Republican candidate's attorneys had to find evidence they contend will show that some people legally entitled to vote did not have their ballots counted.

But in a new filing this week, Alexis Danneman, who represents Mayes, told the appellate judges there is no basis for giving Hamadeh a new trial.

"Contestants offer only speculation that this evidence was likely to change the results at trial,'' Danneman said. And she is asking the appellate court to not only dismiss the case but also force Hamadeh to pay Mayes' legal fees and costs.

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Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.