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Trump stokes conspiracy theories in Arizona election

Arizona’s high-stakes elections had been hit with technical points in Phoenix’s Maricopa County on Tuesday, sparking a Republican lawsuit and a wave of criticism, rumors and misinformation.

County officers introduced Tuesday morning that poll counting machines had been malfunctioning in 20% of the 223 vote facilities throughout the county, confirming experiences that rapidly unfold on social media and prompting former President Trump to make unfounded allegations of a stolen election on his Fact Social platform.

Officers in Arizona — notably in Maricopa, the place high election officers are Republicans — had been beneath nice strain to make sure a easy and secure expertise for voters . Supporters of Trump held armed protests in Maricopa County in 2020, after Joe Biden narrowly grew to become the primary Democrat to win a presidential contest there in additional than 20 years.

This yr, 4 of the highest statewide candidates have been endorsed by Trump and have echoed his false and unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen on account of widespread voter fraud.

Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has closely criticized election administration beneath Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, calling on her Democratic opponent for governor to recuse herself from overseeing their contest.

After casting her poll at a polling place in downtown Phoenix, Lake mentioned she would overhaul the state’s elections if she wins.

“This is incompetency, I hope it’s not malice,” she instructed reporters. “We’re going to fix it, we’re going to win. And when we win there’s going to be a come to Jesus for elections.”

Trump launched a video message to Arizona voters and made a number of posts on Fact Social on Tuesday afternoon, alleging that the scenario in Maricopa County was a “complete Voter Integrity DISASTER.”

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“People of Arizona: Don’t get out of line until you cast your vote,” Trump wrote. “They are trying to steal the election with bad Machines and DELAY. Don’t let it happen!”

A number of conservative personalities, together with a few of those that stumped with Lake within the days main as much as the election, posted invectives about Maricopa County election officers on social media.

The Lake marketing campaign, Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters and the Republican Nationwide Committee filed a lawsuit Tuesday afternoon to increase voting hours in Arizona by three hours to 10 p.m. native time to make up for the tabulator points. Republicans made up nearly all of in-person voter turnout Tuesday.

“The widespread issues — in an election administered by Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs — are completely unacceptable, especially as Republicans flock to the polls to vote in-person on Election Day,” RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel mentioned in a written assertion. “We have dozens of attorneys and thousands of volunteers on the ground working to solve this issue and ensure that Arizona voters have the chance to make their voices heard.”

A Maricopa County Superior Courtroom choose denied the emergency request across the time polls closed at 7 p.m.

Lake and different Republicans have additionally been vital of how lengthy it takes to rely votes. For many years, Arizona has allowed voters to request absentee ballots, which should be returned by the point polls shut on election day. Election officers have mentioned that it could possibly be 10 to fifteen days earlier than each poll is counted, and it might take a number of days to find out the winner in a detailed contest.

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Early outcomes Tuesday night with 62% of Arizona precincts reporting confirmed Hobbs forward of Lake, 57% to 43%. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly was additionally forward of Masters, 58% to 40%, with Libertarian candidate Marc J. Victor incomes 2% of the vote. Regardless of the early leads for Democrats, the races are anticipated to slender as extra Republican-leaning, in-person votes are counted.

Officers mentioned no voters had been disenfranchised. Ballots that might not be scanned had been positioned in safe bins inside tabulating machines and will probably be delivered by bipartisan groups to the county’s central elections workplace, mentioned Invoice Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Gates mentioned that the printing subject was a shock and that the county plans to do a “deep dive” into why the difficulty wasn’t caught throughout testing.

After polls closed in Arizona, Gates was requested at a information convention about election deniers pledging to come back to the state.

“We know that the eyeballs of the world were already on Maricopa County, we’ve known that for weeks,” Gates mentioned. “Whoever wants to come here can come, that’s fine, they have every right to be here. But again, there’s nothing that happened here today that would indicate, in my opinion, a need to be out here, a need to address some injustice.”

Gates additionally commented on the elevated regulation enforcement presence on the county election heart.

“Unfortunately in 2020 we saw folks come here and get very close to the building, getting a little raucous,” he mentioned. “We have no specific reasons to think that there will be problems down here this evening but we want to make sure everything is protected.”

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Occasions employees author Sarah D. Wire contributed to this report.

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