Trump team files lawsuit on Arizona count

Mimi Dwyer and David Shepardson
·2-min read

Hundreds of Donald Trump supporters have rallied in downtown Phoenix to dispute Joe Biden's election as US president, accusing the media of conspiring to steal the election and calling the results a 'coup.'

The Trump campaign lent support to protests questioning the current vote tally, filing a lawsuit in Arizona on Saturday that Arizona's Secretary of State said was "grasping at straws."

Trump's campaign alleged the southwestern state's most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters in the US presidential race. The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an "overvote."

Pro-Trump protesters have been assembling outside the Maricopa County Elections Department and at the Arizona State Capitol for days, espousing unsubstantiated claims that Democratic operatives had interfered with the election to illegitimately deliver Arizona to Biden.

They have chanted "Count the legal votes! We are watching you!" outside the building where election workers continue to count votes.

Tensions escalated on Saturday, with protesters at one point threatening to take down the fence cordoning off the elections department and some media members from the group.

A number of far-right and militia groups such as the Proud Boys and Three Percenters were also in the crowd on Saturday, many armed with semi-automatic weapons.

Protesters at one point clashed with a small group of young counter-protesters waving Mexican and US flags on a corner across from the elections department. Jacki Valencia, 19, waved a Biden-Harris sign as a man with a "Blue Lives Matter" flag shouted "USA!" at her and others.

The Trump campaign's lawsuit contends that potentially "determinative" votes were not counted in the race between Trump and Biden, who was declared the winner on Saturday by major television networks.

An Arizona official rejected the lawsuit. "This is just a stalling tactic to delay the official canvass," Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said in a statement through her spokeswoman. "They are grasping at straws."

The Maricopa County Elections Department declined to comment.

Biden leads Trump by 0.44 per cent, or 18,600 votes, in Arizona.

On Saturday, a group of voters dropped a lawsuit that had made unsubstantiated claims alleging some votes cast for Trump were not counted in Maricopa County because voters used Sharpie pens. The county last year rolled out new tabulation equipment that made Sharpie pens the best option on Election Day because they have the fastest-drying ink.

Hobbs' spokeswoman added that they "are reviewing (the latest lawsuit) now, but it appears to be a repackaging of the 'Sharpiegate' lawsuit. Hopefully, this puts the matter to rest for good."