Arizona secretary of state tells Trump to ‘accept’ his election loss and ‘move on’ ahead of Phoenix rally

trump rally arizona
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Arizona on October 19, 2020.

  • In a CNN interview Friday, the Arizona secretary of state said Trump needs to “move on” from his election loss.
  • Trump is slated to speak Saturday at a rally in Phoenix titled a “Rally to Protect Our Elections.”
  • Hobbs, a Democrat running for governor, said Trump’s visit to the state was “dangerous.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Friday said former President Donald Trump needed to “accept” his loss in last year’s election and “move on” ahead of his appearance at a rally in Phoenix on Saturday.

“Well, it is dangerous,” said Hobbs, a Democrat, when asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta about Trump’s upcoming visit. “I’m glad you pointed that out. But the bottom line is it doesn’t matter what he says or does, nothing is going to change the outcome of the 2020 election. But it also doesn’t change how dangerous this is.”

Hobbs said yesterday Trump should “accept” his loss to President Joe Biden and “move on” from it as the former president travels Saturday to the Arizona Federal Theater for the “Rally to Protect Our Elections” in Phoenix. The event, according to AZ Central, is hosted by the conservative nonprofit Turning Point Action. In addition to Trump’s address, the event will feature a forum with Republican candidates for Arizona governor, according to the report.

“The bottom line is that Arizonians are tired of being led by conspiracy theorists,” Hobbs, who in June announced her candidacy for Arizona governor, said. “They don’t support this fake audit and they’re ready for leaders who are going to put those partisan games aside and deal with real issues.”

Trump lost the race in Arizona in one of the key wins for Biden that afforded him the path to victory. In the months that followed his loss, Trump and his GOP allies refused to concede the race and spread baseless conspiracy theories about election safety. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in last year’s general election.

His baseless claims fueled the deadly riot at US Capitol on January 6.

Read more: Trouble is brewing for a Georgia county’s criminal investigation into Donald Trump

Republicans in the Arizona Senate late last year commissioned a controversial audit by a private firm to investigate baseless claims of voter fraud in the election. The still underway review is focused on Maricopa County, which encompasses the city of Phoenix, which Biden won by more than two percentage points.

Election officials in the state have found just 182 cases of potential voter fraud out of more than 3 million ballots cast in last year’s election, the Associated Press reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arizona’s top elections official is calling for a probe of Trump and his allies over ‘intense efforts to interfere’ with ballot counting

rudy giuliani donald trump
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is seen with then-President-elect Donald Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey in November 2016.

  • Records obtained by The Arizona Republic showed Trump allies contacting Arizona election officials.
  • “We need you to stop the counting,” Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP chair, told an official during ballot counting.
  • Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is calling on Trump and his allies to be investigated over the reports.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is calling for an investigation into former President Donald Trump and his allies over “intense efforts to interfere” with the counting of ballots in the 2020 election.

In a letter to Arizona’s attorney general that was shared on Twitter, Hobbs urges him to look into reports that Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Kelli Ward tried to interfere with election officials, potentially in violation of state law. She said they contacted officials in Maricopa County, where a GOP-backed audit of the election was recently underway, to disrupt ballot counting.

“Local reporting recently uncovered intense efforts to interfere with the tabulation of ballots and canvass of the 2020 election in Maricopa County,” Hobbs said in a tweet. “In Arizona, interfering with election officials is a felony.”

Read more: A key fundraising group for Republican women is shunning Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, calling them ‘carnival barkers’

Citing The Arizona Republic’s reporting, the letter says Trump and his allies reached out to election officials during the ballot tabulation process “to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties.”

Hobbs notes an incident in which Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, told the chairman of the board of supervisors, “We need you to stop the counting” and “I know you don’t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election.”

The comments were made via text messages that were included in records obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Hobbs called for Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate these reports and enforce any laws that were violated.

“Arizona law protects election officials from those who would seek to interfere with their sacred duties to ascertain and certify the will of the voters,” she wrote. “I urge you to take action not only to seek justice in this instance, but to prevent future attempts to interfere with the integrity of our elections.”

Hobbs, a Democrat and vocal critic of the GOP recount in Maricopa County, announced last month she will run for governor in 2022.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP leader behind Arizona election audit touted Trump phone call in newly released emails

Arizona election recount audit
A contractor working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate transports ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • New emails detail the efforts by Trump and Giuliani to challenge the 2020 Arizona election results.
  • State Sen. Karen Fann boasted of a call from Trump over the GOP push to “prove any fraud.”
  • Fann acknowledged in an email to a constituent that Biden had indeed won the election.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP state Senate President Karen Fann revealed that then-President Donald Trump called gave her a phone call to encourage legislators to push for an audit of electoral ballots in Maricopa County, according to newly released emails.

The emails, which were obtained by the nonprofit legal watchdog group American Oversight through a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the former president’s personal lawyer at the time, were in frequent contact with GOP lawmakers.

The records indicated that Fann spoke with Giuliani during the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, with the GOP leader boasting that she had conversed with the former New York City mayor “at least 6 times over the past two weeks.”

“I have been in numerous conversations with Rudy over the past weeks trying to get this done,” she wrote in another email on Dec. 28, 2020. “I have the full support of him and a personal call from President Trump thanking us for pushing to prove any fraud.”

Fann also reached out to Trump’s team in late November to ask for any evidence of “rampant fraud.”

“No suit has been filed nor was a suit filed to contest the certification process,” she wrote. “I also want to get to the bottom of all this.”

After being criticized by a constituent for supporting an audit, Fann acknowledged that President Joe Biden had indeed won the presidential election in Arizona.

“Biden won … 45% of all Arizona voters thinks there is a problem with the election system. The audit is to disprove those theories or find ways to improve the system,” she wrote in an email last month.

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

Last year, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee since Bill Clinton in 1996 to secure the state’s electoral votes, edging out Trump by 10,457 votes out of nearly 3.4 million votes cast.

Republicans in the state are carrying out a partisan audit of the results in Maricopa County, which for generations was one of the most populous GOP-leaning urban centers in the entire country. When Biden won Arizona last year, he also carried Maricopa by a 50% to 48% margin.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who announced her bid for governor this week, has repeatedly criticized the audit process and questioned the competency of the legislators who continue to challenge the election results.

“There’s really nothing going on here that gives any confidence that they’re going to produce a report that is valid,” she told The Hill earlier this week. “They’re not going to produce results that are going to be able to be replicated. They don’t know what they’re doing and they didn’t have a clue how long it was going to take them to do this.”

She added: “Right now, our state government is being run by conspiracy theorists who are more focused on political posturing than getting things done, and that needs to change.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arizona’s secretary of state called the GOP-commissioned election audit ‘prime for cooking the books’

Katie Hobbs Maricopa County audit
A composite image of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, and a scene from the 2020 election audit in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • AZ Sec. of State Katie Hobbs is documenting irregularities with the Maricopa County election audit.
  • One concern is that auditors were seen with dark-colored pens, which may be used to alter a ballot.
  • Hobbs told CNN on Thursday that the GOP-commissioned audit is “prime for cooking the books.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has once again slammed the GOP-backed audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, suggesting that it was “prime for cooking the books.”

President Joe Biden won Arizona by a narrow margin in the election, and multiple Republican legal challenges to the results in that state have been either lost or dismissed.

Nonetheless, a review of the results in Maricopa County – the nation’s second-largest voting jurisdiction – was launched thanks to the state’s Republican-controlled Senate, which hired a little-known Florida tech company called Cyber Ninjas to carry out the audit.

Cyber Ninjas has never carried out an elections audit before, and Hobbs’ office has documented multiple irregularities in its operation, including the fact that workers were found with black and blue pens, which can be used to alter ballots.

Hobbs, who announced she was running for Arizona governor this week, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday that Cyber Ninjas is “creating an atmosphere that is prime for cooking the books so that they can produce the result that they want to produce.”

She said that Cyber Ninjas was informed from the start that dark pens were not allowed in the auditing process, but it’s “continued to be an issue throughout this entire exercise.”

“We have repeatedly said, anyone who knows what they’re doing around elections does not want to have a device that can mark a ballot in any way, that can potentially alter that ballot, and they’re continuing to ignore that and continuing to do this,” Hobbs said.

In a previous interview with Insider’s Grace Panetta in May, Hobbs said the “so-called audit … is making a mockery of everything we do to conduct fair, secure, and accurate elections.”

Jen Fifield, a reporter with The Arizona Republic, noticed blue pens being used back in April, when she raised the issue with Cyber Ninjas.

Fifield told CNN in a separate interview on Thursday that she was told by a member of the group that they would be using green pens instead, going forward.

Fifield was asked in the CNN interview whether she thought workers using blue pens struck her as a “big deal.”

“It strikes me as showing that they may not have experience doing election audits before,” Fifield said.

Insider has contacted Cyber Ninjas and the Arizona Senate Republican Party for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arizona’s top elections official Katie Hobbs announces run for governorship amid ongoing election audit

AP21141138603134
In this Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs removes her face mask as she addresses the members of Arizona’s Electoral College prior to them casting their votes, in Phoenix.

  • Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, will run for governor in 2022, she announced Wednesday.
  • The top elections official in the state has gained national attention in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
  • Hobbs is an outspoken critic of the state’s ongoing Maricopa County election audit.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who rose to prominence defending the state’s election results following the 2020 vote, announced Wednesday that she’s launching a run for governor.

In an announcement video posted to Twitter, Hobbs trumpeted her role as a dependable leader, touting her past political successes and pledging to lead the state through recovery in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hobbs, a Democrat, first saw her national profile grow this fall during a series of cable news appearances amid Arizona’s ongoing vote count, which continued days beyond Election Day.

Then, this spring, Hobbs became an outspoken critic of the controversial election audit in Maricopa County, spearheaded by the state’s GOP-controlled Senate. The recount decision was made in spite of objections by the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors. The board said the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

Hobbs has frequently cited concerns over a lack of transparency and even taken legal action to ensure elections experts are on the ground during the process.

She’s criticized the contentious effort as a danger to democracy and has taken several steps to both stop and document the controversial recount. She’s sent sharply-worded letters to audit organizers about the recount; suggested the county replace its voting machines due to security concerns; and published a detailed summary of concerning witness statements from the recount.

“We did our jobs. They refuse to do theirs,” Hobbs said in her announcement video. “And there is a lot more work to be done. That is why I am running for governor.

Hobbs won the secretary of state position in a narrow victory in 2018 and her current term ends in January 2023. Arizona’s current governor, Republican Doug Ducey, is also term-limited and will be out in 2023.

Kimberly Yee, Arizona’s current state treasurer, and a Republican, has also announced a gubernatorial run, as has Kari Lake, a former anchor for the local Fox station.

Republicans in the politically-changing state’s legislature have responded to Hobbs’ relentless objections in kind. Last month, Republicans passed a measure to strip Hobbs of her election powers and transfer such duties to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, but only through the end of 2023 – a seemingly deliberate attempt to punish Hobbs for her criticism.

Before serving as Secretary of State, Hobbs served as a member of Arizona’s Senate and House of Representatives.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Observers of the Arizona audit say they were mocked over shirt color and witnessed software malfunctions, security violations, and personnel issues with the controversial GOP-led ballot count

maricopa county recount arizona
Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results.

  • Observers of the ongoing Arizona election audit have alleged several security and equipment concerns.
  • Secretary of State Katie Hobbs shared a summary of incidents witnesses have noted in the past week.
  • Witnesses said they saw three non-residents rifling through thousands of ballots last week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Observers of the ongoing audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona have alleged several problematic incidents last week during the controversial recount.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs published a summary of “new and ongoing” incidents that were noted by observers during the audit beginning on May 24. Among the observations are security concerns, equipment concerns, communication concerns, and policy or press changes.

On Tuesday, she tweeted a link to the summary, saying: “Since the start of the Senate’s so-called audit, my office has had concerns over the lack of transparency and even took legal action to ensure we had election experts on the ground.”

Earlier this year, the state’s GOP-controlled Senate chose Cyber Ninjas, a private firm, to carry out another count of the 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, where President Joe Biden beat Trump by more than 45,000 votes.

Since the start of the audit, Hobbes, who is a Democrat, has positioned herself as an outspoken critic of the recount, citing concerns over a lack of transparency and even taking legal action to ensure elections experts are on the ground during the process.

In the past week, those experts said they have reportedly witnessed security gates left open and unattended, confidential materials being left in the open, prohibited pens near the ballots multiple times, unauthorized cell phones on the counting floor, and confirmation that concealed firearms are allowed on the counting floor.

Observers noted Cyber Ninjas software malfunctions that forced the company to roll back an update in the middle of the day. Witnesses also allege Senate Liaison Ken Bennett confirmed that copies of the voting system data were sent to an unspecified lab in Montana, with no mention of what they intend to do with copies of the data or for how long they will keep the data.

Bennett did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

One observer alleges that Audit Co-chair Randy Pullen told one observer that the shirt he was required to wear on the floor “made him look like a transgender,” due to the pink color. Witnesses said audit organizers refer to them as “pinkies” or “pinkos,” implying that they are communists.

Pullen did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Throughout the week, witnesses said they noted “general confusion” among organizers and a lack of quality control practices in place meant to ensure data is entered correctly.

On May 29, witnesses said they saw at least three people who are not Maricopa County residents “rifling through” thousands of military and overseas ballots.

Cyber Ninjas has no previous election experience and is spearheaded by a Trump supporter who promoted false conspiracy claims last fall. The recount decision was made in spite of the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors objecting to it, saying the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

Cyber Ninjas did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Arizona GOP legislators votes to strip powers from the Democratic secretary of state after she slammed the state’s GOP-led 2020 election audit

AP21141138603134
In this Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs removes her face mask as she addresses the members of Arizona’s Electoral College prior to them casting their votes, in Phoenix.

  • Republicans in Arizona’s state legislature voted Tuesday to strip the Democratic Secretary of State of election powers.
  • The move comes one day after Katie Hobbs slammed the GOP-led 2020 election audit happening in Maricopa County.
  • The measure would transfer authority over elections lawsuits to the state’s Republican attorney general.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republicans in Arizona’s state legislature passed a measure on Tuesday to strip Democrat Katie Hobbs of her election powers as Secretary of State after she criticized the state’s controversial, GOP-led audit of the 2020 election.

The bill, which passed both the state House and Senate Appropriations Committees, would transfer election powers from Hobbs to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who Hobbs filed a still-pending ethics complaint against last year, first reported by AZ Central.

In a comment to Insider, Hobbs said she filed the complaint against Brnovich because he engaged in a pattern of unethical and partisan behavior. She said she filed the complaint with the State Bar of Arizona in October in hopes that the issue would be resolved in a professional and nonpartisan manner.

“He frequently sought to substitute his judgement for my own and allowed his political preferences to interfere with his obligation to represent me as a client, in my pursuit of the best interests of Arizona voters,” Hobbs told Insider. “Unfortunately, it appears that AG Brnovich isn’t asking forgiveness for his behavior – he’s asking our legislature to authorize it,” Hobbs said.

A representative for Brnovich did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The legislative response to Hobbs’ ongoing audit criticism would give Brnovich authority to defend all elections lawsuits through early January 2023, which marks the end of both his and Hobbs’ current terms.

The measure, which still has to pass the full legislature, would also ban the attorney general from representing or providing legal counsel to the secretary of state, who is typically in charge of overseeing elections. The proposed changes will be included in the state’s full budget proposal which is set to be voted on later this week, according to local news station KNXV.

Hobbs responded to the proposal earlier this week, calling it an attack on Arizona voters.

“All year our legislature has worked to undermine our elections – from a wave of bills to make it harder to vote to the ridiculous ‘audit’ taking place at the Coliseum,” she said on Twitter. “It appears the next step is an attempt to undermine Arizona’s Chief Elections Officer and prevent me from doing the job Arizonans elected me to do.”

“The fact that the legislature has singled out me and my office for these unjustifiable restrictions – restrictions which expire at the end of my term – make it clear what this is really about: partisan politics,” she said.

Rep. Regina Cobb and Sen. David Gowan, respective chairs of the legislature’s Appropriations Committees, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The move comes amid the state’s ongoing audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County led by Arizona’s GOP-controlled Senate, more than six months after President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by about 45,000 votes in the county and by slightly more than 10,000 ballots in the state.

After Trump and his supporters spent months sowing doubt about Biden’s win in the once-Red state, state Republicans chose Cyber Ninjas, a private firm with no prior elections experience and spearheaded by a Trump supporter, to carry out another count of ballots in Maricopa County. The recount decision was made in spite of the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors objecting to it, saying the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

The audit, which kicked off on April 23, has been plagued by questions of legality and partisanship stemming from a slew of errors and absurdities. Earlier this month, the Maricopa County Attorney’s office sent state leaders and audit vendors a “hold” letter instructing them to retain all documents and audit communications – the first official sign that Maricopa County leaders are considering post-audit legal action.

Cyber Ninjas did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider