A judge has ruled against issuing a temporary restraining order sought by Martha McSally campaign’s to stop the county from continuing to count provisional ballots in the Congressional District 2 race.
Eric Spencer, an attorney representing the McSally campaign and the Republican Party, sought a temporary restraining order at a hearing this morning in Pima County Superior Court against elections officials who have continued the ballot counting despite the campaign’s objections.
Superior Court Judge James Marner said in his ruling that he saw no “irreparable harm” in letting the county to continue counting the provisional ballots.
McSally’s campaign sought to have any provisional ballots submitted with a missing election official signature removed from the ongoing counting procedure and for them to be counted at a later date.
McSally campaign spokesperson Patrick Ptak said Pima County officials are not following all procedures laid out in the state’s election manual regarding ballot counting.
“With so much at stake for the people of Southern Arizona, we believe it’s imperative that we take the time to get this right and not simply ignore rules in place to ensure every ballot is valid,” said Ptak. “The integrity of our elections process is critically important. That’s why Arizona has checks in place to ensure the integrity of every ballot and we need to make sure those checks are being followed.”
In his letter to county officials yesterday, Spencer demanded that the Recorder’s Office “cease transmitting any previously verified provisional ballots to the Elections Department, pending a review of the provisional ballot forms for missing election official signatures.”
Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez has refused, stating her office will continue to process the ballots so they can be counted by the County Elections Department as early as today.
Neither Spencer nor Rodriguez gave any indication of how many ballots could be involved.
Earlier today, Dan Barr, an attorney representing the Barber campaign, predicted any legal challenge to throw out provisional ballots would fail.
Barr also sometimes represents the Arizona Daily Star on First Amendment issues.
The McSally campaign unsuccessfully attempted to challenge 130 provisional ballots in Cochise County in 2012.
McSally currently has a 341 vote lead in the CD2 race.
The Pima County Elections Department is expected to start counting 9,335 provisional ballots today.
A total of 767 provisional ballots were invalidated for various reasons.