The head of Arizona’s Republican Party has insisted “the election is far from over”, as Donald Trump hailed a “big victory” in Nevada, and Georgia’s recount continued to turn up uncounted votes for the President.
“Do not lose heart,” Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Dr Kelli Ward said in a video message on Monday.
“Do not allow the negativity and the fake news to bring you down. Arizona is in this fight 100 per cent. We are out to make sure that our elections in our state have integrity.”
Joe Biden currently leads Mr Trump by 10,377 votes – just 0.3 percentage points – in Arizona, which has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996.
It’s one of a number of key battleground states where the Trump campaign and Republicans have alleged widespread voter fraud, and are attempting to overturn the results through a combination of legal challenges and requests for recounts and audits.
Unlike many other states, Arizona does not allow recount requests and its threshold for automatic recounts are much stricter, requiring the vote difference to be less than 0.1 per cent.
In the video, Dr Ward referred to a viral 2017 tweet from Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs – responsible for overseeing elections – who described Mr Trump’s base as neo-Nazis.
“That doesn’t speak to being unbiased to me. Does it to you?” she said.
“I think it’s something that we have to be very, very cognisant of. We’re going into the canvassing phase of this election. That means we’re assuring that the votes cast are cast as the voter intended and counted appropriately. We have questions that have to be answered.”
Dr Ward said she was working “hand-in-hand” with the Trump campaign and his legal team, including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, “to make sure that the elections in Arizona have integrity”.
“So stay strong, stay firm, understand that this election is far from over,” she said.
“We do not have a president-elect at this time. States have not certified elections, and that’s what makes a president-elect – not the media, not the pundits, not the talking heads, not the fake news.”
On Tuesday, Mr Giuliani made his first appearance in court for the Trump campaign’s Pennsylvania lawsuit, where he alleged “widespread national voter fraud”.
At the same time, the state’s Democratic-majority Supreme Court knocked back a separate case which alleged poll watchers were illegally prevented from observing the counting process.
The Arizona Republican Party filed a lawsuit last week demanding a hand recount of votes by individual precinct rather than “voting centres”, which were introduced by the state’s most populous county, Maricopa County, for the 2020 election.
A hearing in that case is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
That came as a separate lawsuit requesting reinspection of ballots with “over votes”, which occurs when the voter marks more candidates than is allowed, was tossed out by a judge.
Meanwhile, three Arizona Republican Congressmen, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert, have called for a “100 per cent audit” of all ballots in Maricopa County.
In a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Friday, the trio said “hundreds” of residents had signed affidavits alleging their ballots “may have been discounted”.
“While the election margins may not be narrow enough to trigger a recount, you are permitted to conduct a 100 per cent manual audit,” they wrote.
They cited the narrow margin between the two candidates, “together with questions regarding anomalies and potential errors”, as “more than enough” justification to commence an audit of the ballot images.
“Although Arizona conducts elections with far more transparency and accountability than other states, there have been some issues raised about the integrity of some of our election systems within the state,” Mr Biggs said in a statement on Monday.
“For this reason, I am calling on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to go above and beyond to assure the public of the integrity of Maricopa County’s elections. Let’s leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of accountability and transparency.”
In a video released this week, which also raised questions about Dominion Voting Systems, Mr Biggs described the election as “a joke”.
On Monday, Mr Trump hailed a “big victory” in Clark County, Nevada – which takes in Las Vegas – after election officials threw out the results of a county commissioner race due to voting “discrepancies”.
“Big victory moments ago in the state of Nevada,” the President tweeted.
“The all Democrat County Commissioner race, on same ballot as President, just thrown out because of large scale voter discrepancy. Clark County officials do not have confidence in their own election security. Major impact!”
The Clark County Commission cited the narrow 10-vote margin between Democrat Ross Miller and Republican Stavros Anthony, as well as a number of discrepancies including six people who voted twice, as justification for a possible re-run of the single local election.
“We have found discrepancies that we can’t explain that would cast a doubt on whether or not that margin of victory is solid,” Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria told commissioners.
“That’s the only race in the entire election we have any concern related to the outcome. And it’s because of the margin.”
They certified the presidential election results, where Mr Biden beat Mr Trump by 33,596 votes.
Still, Mr Trump’s allies have seized on the news.
Former Nevada Attorney-General Adam Laxalt said the election represented 153,000 votes, or one sixth of the county’s total.
Former acting director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, who is working with Mr Laxalt on the Trump campaign’s legal challenges in Nevada, said: “You have to suspend common sense to believe fraud only happened on one race of a long ballot.
“They didn’t have faith in their election – there were too many discrepancies,” he tweeted. “They threw out 150,000 ballots over 10 cases? Absurd.”
Meanwhile, Georgia’s ongoing recount – which Mr Trump slammed as “meaningless” – turned up a memory card in Fayette County with 2755 votes, WSBTV reported.
The find, which came after another batch of Trump-favouring votes were discovered in Floyd County over the weekend, further decreased Mr Biden’s statewide lead by 449.
The new margin in Georgia is now a 12,929 lead for Mr Biden.
The Democratic candidate was declared the presumptive winner of the 2020 election after edging ahead of Mr Trump in key battleground states including Pennsylvania and Georgia in the days after the election, as batches of absentee ballots continued to be counted.
Mr Trump has so far refused to concede, claiming the election was “rigged” and vowing to exhaust his legal avenues.
Time is running out for the President, with the electoral college due to meet in each state on December 14 and formally vote on the winner.
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