Arizona GOP groups file lawsuit over mail-in ballot counting in tight Senate race

Arizona GOP groups file lawsuit over mail-in ballot counting in tight Senate race

Four county Republican parties in Arizona have filed a lawsuit over the state’s mail-in ballot counting procedures.

The lawsuit, filed late Wednesday against all Arizona county recorders and the secretary of state, according to the Arizona Republic, comes after a too-close-to-call election in the state’s closely-watched Senate race.

There are currently 17,000 votes separating Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyElection Countdown: Florida fight ends with Scott, DeSantis wins | Dems see Sunbelt in play for 2020 | Trump to campaign in Mississippi ahead of runoff | GOP wipeout in Orange County | Ortiz Jones concedes in Texas House race Dem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Reelection campaign starts now, like it or not MORE in the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePoll: Trump easily defeats potential GOP rivals in hypothetical primary matchups A primary challenger would weaken Trump in general election, says polling editor Trump 'unlikely' to face primary challenger, says pollster MORE. A Sinema win would mean a key Senate pickup for Democrats.

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The GOP in Yuma, Navajo, Apache and Maricopa counties are challenging county processes for verifying signatures on mail-in ballots, according to the Republic.

Currently, some county recorders are calling voters whose mail-in ballot signatures do not match those on file, to have them verify that they signed the ballot.

The lawsuit claims that this practice violates state law and that calls to voters are only permitted before Election Day.

“A foundational principle of American democracy and our justice system is that all votes are treated equally,” Arizona GOP Chairman Jonathan Lines said in a statement to the Republic. “It is not fair nor just that voters in one county are treated differently under the law from other voters in Arizona.”

A hearing is scheduled for Friday, but the plaintiffs are seeking an accelerated hearing on Thursday.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes told the Arizona Republic that he and some other county recorders have been conducting post-Election Day verification calls for over a decade.

Democratic leaders in the state are accusing Republicans of attempting to suppress votes by pushing forward with the lawsuit.

“The Republican party is doing everything it can to silence thousands of Arizonans who already cast their ballots," Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Felecia Rotellini said in a statement. "That's absolutely wrong, and the Arizona Democratic Party is fully prepared to fight to ensure that every last Arizonan has their vote counted."