America First Legal Files Landmark Lawsuit Against Maricopa County, Arizona Officials for Violating State  Election Laws

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday evening, on behalf of the Strong Communities Foundation of Arizona and Eric Lovelis, America First Legal (AFL) filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County, Arizona officials for violating State election administration laws. The suit alleges:

  • Maricopa County refuses to maintain the mandatory chain of custody for ballots. In 2022, these failures resulted in a discrepancy of over 25,000 votes – larger than the margin of victory in the state governor’s race.
  • Maricopa County ignores mandatory reconciliation procedures to track each ballot printed or issued to a voter. The law requires tracking and reconciling ballots cast and voters checked in to stop fraud, but the Defendants do not perform any reconciliation procedures at all.
  • Maricopa County’s election day “voting centers” – an irrational substitute for election day precinct voting – are situated in a racially discriminatory way, having a disparate impact on the County’s White and Native American citizens who are more likely to vote in person. Furthermore, these centers are poorly run; during the 2022 general election, a majority had issues with their ballot-on-demand printers. Malfunctions included printing 19-inch ballot images on 20-inch paper and/or using an ink-saving “eco” function that rendered ballots unreadable, disenfranchising lawful voters.
  • Arizona law requires that “the county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall compare the signatures [on early ballots] with the signature of the elector on the elector’s registration record.” In other words, human beings—and only human beings—may perform signature verification. However, in 2020 Maricopa County used what it called “the AI signature process” and the “AI process” to run signature comparisons. The County renewed the “AI” contract for 2024. 
  • Starting in 2020, the Defendants have been wrongly canceling the voter registrations of hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Maricopa County residents. This has been happening without voters’ knowledge, thus making it impossible for canceled voters to protest. Thus, during the 2022 election, hundreds, and possibly thousands, of voters appeared at voting centers and were told that they were no longer registered to vote in Maricopa County, even though they had not moved away, had not knowingly requested that their registration be canceled or transferred, had not consented to the cancellation of their registration, and had never been informed of the cancellation of their registration. These voters were forced to cast provisional ballots, which the Defendants never counted. The number of voters disenfranchised during the 2022 general election by the Defendants’ unlawful cancellations was larger than the margin of victory in some races.
  • Maricopa County violates state laws mandating ballot curing procedures that require that a voter actually see a suspect signature and confirm its authenticity in person.
  • Arizona law requires ballot drop boxes to be staffed by at least two election officials positioned close enough to view each person who deposits ballots into it. Maintaining an unstaffed drop box is a felony. However, Maricopa County maintains unstaffed, unsupervised ballot drop boxes, facilitating illegal ballot harvesting.       

For years, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the County Recorder have consistently failed to lawfully and fairly administer elections in Maricopa County. These individuals are fully aware of their election law violations, yet they have consistently failed to take any action to rectify them. This action has been filed to prevent the November 5, 2024, election from being tainted with the same mistakes and maladministration that occurred during the 2020 and 2022 elections.

America First Legal will continue fighting for fair elections, and to protect the right of every American citizen to have their lawful vote counted. 

Statement from James Rogers, America First Legal Counsel:

“The legitimacy of our government relies on the people’s trust that elections are free and fair. Maricopa County’s errors, lapses, and mistakes in administering elections have seriously eroded that trust. This lawsuit seeks to hold Maricopa County accountable for its failures and to restore Arizonans’ trust in their elections, “ said James Rogers.

Read the lawsuit here.

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