When Doug Ducey in his state of Arizona almost exactly two years ago proclaimed Joe Biden the winner of the presidential vote and thus sealed Donald Trump's deselection, the incumbent reacted with a threatening attack: "Why are you in such a hurry to bring a Democrat into office ?Republicans will remember this for a long time!". Biden got 10,400 more votes than Trump in Arizona, the closest result in the election. Now, after the midterm elections, the US is looking back at the state in the Southwest and the local media are remembering their governor, Republican Doug Ducey.
"Why isn't he defending the Arizona elections?" asks a commentator for the largest newspaper, the Arizona Republic, in desperation. "Ducey was Secretary of the Treasury, he was elected governor in 2014 and 2018. He knows the elections are professional and safe. Why doesn't he come out and say that?" The reason for the almost pleading request to the head of government are massive allegations of fraud, almost exclusively by Republicans. More specifically, Trump's "Make America Great Again" Republicans.
Every two years after the presidential election, Americans vote on large parts of Congress and also on a number of state offices, such as the governor. Ducey was no longer allowed to compete in Arizona. In his place, local Republicans have nominated conspiracy theorist Kari Lake. But she was defeated by Democrat Katie Hobbs by just 17,000 votes. However, Lake claims that, as in 2020, the election was massively rigged. "Regardless of whether it was intentional or unintentional, this election was a disaster and destroyed all confidence in elections," she said a few days ago.
As was the case two years ago, the focus of the allegations of fraud is Maricopa County, where the capital Phoenix is located and 62 percent of the entire population of Arizona lives. Almost like two years ago, long queues and defective voting machines in 70 polling stations made the headlines on this year's election day. It then took two weeks to count all the votes. Election supervisor Bill Gates called the problems "unfortunate," but assured that "all votes were counted correctly."
Such statements could already be heard after the last elections, which were also chaotic. At that time, the authorities had blocked an independent verification of the count because they had already recounted several times themselves. A disputed control census carried out by a private company almost a year later hardly deviated from the official result. Apparently there is no reason to doubt the integrity of the vote. The right wing of the Republicans does it anyway.
The conservative candidate for the office of Attorney General, Abraham Hamadeh, has now sued not only the responsible officials but also his democratic rivals. His goal: to be officially declared the winner. However, he had lost the duel with only 510 votes less and the result has to be counted again anyway because of the wafer-thin lead.
In the vast majority of US states, posts such as that of Attorney General are awarded by election. In Arizona, he or she is also the chief election supervisor, responsible, among other things, for the official certification of votes. After the unjustified allegations of election fraud in recent years, Republicans are increasingly trying to be elected to electoral offices and authorities - in order to ensure "trustworthy election processes" in the future, as they claim. Or to subsequently discredit them in the event of unwelcome results, as critics fear.
In Arizona, it is noticeable that the conservatives only criticize the votes that they have lost - but not those that they were able to win. Kari Lake, the losing gubernatorial candidate, is therefore demanding a re-election. United States Senate candidate Blake Masters, also unvictorious, is calling for the resignation of the Maricopa County Electoral Committee.
Whether the various complaints and lawsuits will be successful will soon be decided. Voting rights activist Jenny Gimian, however, is relaxed: "This is a small group of people who act outside of their area of responsibility. The usual election process in Arizona is accurate and comprehensible," she told the US site "The Hill".
Sources: The Federalist, The Hill, CNN, Washington Post, Ballotpedia, Arizona Republic, Donald Trump on Twitter