Journalists’ Roundtable: 11-13-20: Challenges to election votes

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The Journalists’ Roundtable looks at challenges to the election result and the continuing increase of COVID-19 cases. Joining Ted Simmons to talk about the 2020 elections: Maria Polletta from The Arizona Republic and Jeremy Duda with Arizona Mirror.

This week’s Journalists’ Roundtable covered:

  • Counting ballots
  • Challenges to the vote
  • Recount
  • Future legislation for the voting process


Maria Polletta: “Of course there was controversy when the Associated Press and Fox, of all outlets, called it early but that ended up being the case. Now we’re at a point where mathematically the president can’t catch up, so Biden did end up taking it here in what is now apparently, very definitely a battleground state.”

Jeremy Duda: “With 10,300 ballots or so left in the state, Trump is trailing by 11-thousand something, so that’s pretty much over.”

Although the voting outcome is clear at this point, the results won’t be certified until Nov. 30 when every ballot is counted and verified, according to Duda.

Are the challenges to the vote gaining traction in court?

Maria Polletta: “They are not gaining traction in the sense of being likely to bring about any tangible results, particularly in the presidential race as discussed. SharpieGate, that was dismissed or withdrawn last weekend, but then this week has been dominated by another lawsuit on behalf of the Trump campaign, RNC (Republican National Committee), and Arizona Republican Party alleging the systematic overwriting of some ballots and some votes cast in-person on Election Day in Maricopa county. Over the course of that week and over the course of the six-plus hour hearing I enjoyed yesterday, those claims have been completely walked back and, frankly, fell apart during witness testimony.” (which is now defunct) was created by the Trump campaign to collect more allegations against the voting process. According to Polleta, 600 or so claims were collected, with 300 declarations being submitted as evidence.

Maria Polletta: “Attorneys for the secretary of state office, county reporters office said ‘no way, there is no guarantee that any of these are legit. The attorney himself, our opposition, has clearly stated that they found some of these to be false and have thrown those out, so why should we trust the rest of them. And that’s where the judge came down; he tossed that out and said, ‘it doesn’t really give me a lot of faith hearing you-yourself say that some of these were essentially spam’ to go ahead and proceed with the rest of these declarations, so those (allegations) were tossed out, but the original six were kept”

Recount and future legislation

Jeremy Duda: “There’s a state statute that requires a limited hand count of ballots… Maricopa already conducted its hand count of 2% of the vote centers along with the 1% early ballots. Perfect match, 100%, they hand-counted more than 9100 ballots, not a single one came back as having a different result on the five races surveyed from what the machine count was.”

Jeremy Duda: “I am sure we’ll see just a ton of legislation introduced next session to address these conspiracy theories and allegations that are more or less fabricated out of thin air. There are a lot of members of the states, legislative Republicans, who are very aggressively pushing these theories. We’ve already heard folks talking about introducing some legislation next session I can’t imagine what all that will be. Although I’m sure it will involve voting machines (since that is the source of a lot of these conspiracy theories), maybe some of it will be involving Sharpies, some of it will probably be involving state-wide hand counts, and I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff we haven’t really considered yet.”

Maria Polletta, The Arizona Republic; Jeremy Duda, Arizona Mirror

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