An attempt by Abe Hamadeh, the Republican candidate for attorney general to overturn the election results in a race he lost was dismissed Tuesday afternoon because he ignored a state law requiring election challenges be filed after the election has been certified.
Hamadeh filed a lawsuit last week challenging the election, which he lost to Democrat Kris Mayes by 510 votes. State law allows candidates to contest election results, but only within five days after the official statewide canvass has been completed and a winner has been declared.
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This year, the canvass is scheduled to happen Dec. 5, although that might be pushed back as far as Dec. 8, given that Cochise County refused to certify its countywide results by the Nov. 28 deadline.
Hamadeh’s attorney, Kory Langhofer, argued that the challenge should proceed because the outcome of the statewide canvass is already known.
Attorneys for Mayes and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs requested that the lawsuit be thrown out, saying it violated the laws which guide the processes for election challenges.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Judge Randall Warner agreed with that assessment. He noted that a new filing could be submitted after the statewide canvass has been certified, because it’s only through that certification that a candidate is officially “declared elected,” as the statute requires.
“The Court concludes that this matter is premature under the election contest statute, and therefore dismisses it without prejudice to the filing of an election contest after the canvass and declaration of election results have occurred,” Warner wrote in his ruling.
Warner rejected Langhofer’s argument that the lawsuit was ripe, even before the canvass, because it is inevitable that Mayes will be declared the winner. The judge noted that, because an election contest is a remedy afforded to candidates via state laws that have specific requirements, the court must abide by them.
Hamadeh’s suit alleged that the on-demand printer issues in Maricopa County, which affected around 70 polling sites, cost him the race, and that a combination of illegal votes for Mayes and thwarted votes for him led to an undeserved win for the Democratic nominee. Notably, his lawsuit did not include any evidence to back those claims and Langhofer admitted during an initial hearing on Monday that he would need a myriad of records from counties across the state to prove the alleged wrongdoing.
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