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Provisional ballots may flip Arizona attorney general race for Hamadeh: analysis

There is a 280-vote gap between Abe Hamadeh and Kris Mayes, with 8,000 provisional ballots still outstanding.

Published: April 18, 2023 2:43pm

Updated: April 18, 2023 3:59pm

An analysis of uncounted provisional ballots shows the 2022 Arizona attorney general's race may be called for GOP nominee Abe Hamadeh instead of the now-Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes.

Hamadeh is challenging the election in court, suing Mayes to ensure all votes were counted in their midterm election contest, which Hamadeh lost by just 280 votes, according to an automatic statewide recount.

Last week, Mohave County Superior Court scheduled oral arguments on May 16 for Hamadeh's motion for a new trial, which he filed after learning that vote total discrepancies in Pinal County were allegedly not brought to the attention of his legal team or the judge in his initial election challenge.

Data from all Arizona counties shows that about 8,000 provisional ballots remain outstanding, AZ Free News reported, based on a collaborative analysis by Republican National Committee analysts, outside investigators, and Hamadeh's legal team. Hamadeh won an average of 70% of votes cast by voters on Election Day, and Election Day votes were 2-to-1 Republican.

While there were fewer voters casting ballots in Arizona for the November 2022 election compared to the November 2020 election, there were more provisional ballots cast and higher rejection rates last year than in 2020.

For example, Santa Cruz County had an increase of rejected provisional ballots cast from 1-in-117 ballots to 83 out of 139. While Pima County doubled in its rejection rate, Pinal's rate increased from 59% to 63%, despite having a comparable number of provisional ballots between the 2020 and 2022 elections.

Nearly 9,000 provisional ballots were rejected statewide during the 2022 general election, and Hamadeh's legal team estimates that, based on their research, at least 1,200 of them across roughly half of the state's counties were "erroneously rejected," former Arizona Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright previously told Just the News, and there could be more in other counties.

Those 1,200 provisional ballots were cast by high-propensity voters, which is unusual, she explained, because typically provisional ballots are cast by first-time or low-propensity voters who aren't fully aware of all the requirements they must meet to vote.

Hamadeh's legal team has over 250 affidavits from allegedly disenfranchised voters, according to AZ Free News.

There were also 269 voters who brought their mail-in ballots on Election Day and checked in, but their votes weren't counted. Of those voters, 149 were Republicans, 53 were Democrats and 67 we registered as "other."

Many of those voters told Hamadeh's legal team that their votes weren't counted.

"This is not simply a case of voter error with these provisional ballots," Hamadeh said in a statement Tuesday. "The disenfranchisement is even bigger than what we're arguing. We have more votes than Kris Mayes. It's up to the courts to decide to count them."

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