Trump campaign, RNC file lawsuit in Maricopa County for 'incorrectly rejected votes'

Maricopa County is the target of a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump's reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, alleging the county "incorrectly rejected votes" made by in-person voters on Election Day.

The lawsuit was announced in an emailed Nov. 7 press release from Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

The email reads in part, "When a machine detects an overvote on a ballot, poll workers should inform in-person voters of the error and give them an opportunity to correct the issue. Instead, poll workers in Maricopa County pressed, and told voters to press, a green button to override the error. As a result, the machines disregarded the voter’s choices in the overvoted races."

Check 2020 General Election results for Arizona

The campaign says voters from Maricopa County gave declarations on what they claim they saw on a "large scale."

Matt Morgan, Trump 2020 campaign general counsel, alleged in the press release that poll workers struggled to operate the new voting machines and gave misguided direction to voters, causing errors and rejected ballots.

The lawsuit is seeking a manual inspection of the alleged rejected ballots that were cast in person.

The lawsuit was announced the same day Joe Biden was projected as the President-elect, winning nearly 75 million votes and at least 290 electoral votes.

Trump has filed several other lawsuits in states where he wanted ballot counts to be stopped, alleging voter fraud.

State and county attorneys say of the 165,860 votes cast in person on Election Day, only 180 ballots were overvotes, or votes made to more than the upper limit of candidates a voter can choose.

Secretary of State responds to voting-related lawsuits

Arizona's Secretary of State Katie Hobbs responded to the lawsuit saying it has no merit and is a tactic to try and stall the election, just like the Sharpie allegation.

Hobbs explains that many people are also confused about their online ballot status, some seeing a notification that their ballot was canceled.

Some voters claimed their ballot was canceled because of the Sharpies after checking online. Maricopa County officials say their "canceled" status is likely for people who had a mail-in ballot but chose to vote in person - effectively canceling their mail-in ballot.

“A lot of baseless conspiracy theories, people grasping at straws," Hobbs said of the lawsuits. The Sharpie lawsuit has since been dropped as of Nov. 7.

The online ballot tracker is only to track mail-in ballots, Hobbs explains, adding, “So people who are looking up and seeing their ballot was canceled, that’s because they were issued a mail-in ballot and then they went to go vote in person.”

No ballot at a polling place would have been rejected, she said.

As for mail-in ballots, if there was an issue, such as an invalid signature or stray lines, Hobbs says the voter would have been contacted and given the opportunity to address that issue.

As for the recent lawsuits and protests, Hobbs urges people to be patient and trust the process, saying, “They just need to let the election workers do their job and the more they disrupt, the more potential they have for causing delays in the process.”

Hearing held on case

During a hearing held on Nov. 9, attorneys on the call mentioned two voters in Anthem and Mesa who thought they saw something, and a poll worker in another state, saying lawsuits should be based on facts, not theories on what happened on Election Day. 

"There is no evidence of systematic failure, and Title 16 doesn't allow for a recount of this sort, and that's exactly what they are asking for," said one lawyer. "The ballots have been counted, and if he could plead enough facts there, there can be a systematic failure, which there is not."

A judge has ruled they will be proceeding with hearings on Nov. 12 for an evidentiary hearing.

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