An Arizona Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit from Republican secretary of state candidate Rep. Mark Finchem over the results of his Nov. 8 election.
Finchem and congressional candidate Jeff Zink – who later dropped out – had filed a lawsuit earlier this month against gubernatorial-elect and current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Rep. Ruben Gallego and Finchem’s secretary of state opponent Adrian Fontes.
Finchem alleged “misconduct” around the election and problems with official equipment, and claimed that a change in the estimated number of votes remaining to be counted on the secretary of state website indicated that illegal votes had been cast
“The law in Arizona does not permit an election challenge to proceed based solely upon a vague sense of unease,” Judge Melissa Julian wrote in a decision released Friday.
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She wrote that Finchem’s arguments over technical issues also fail on their merits.
Arizona Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem looks on during a get-out-the-vote campaign rally on Nov. 5, 2022, in Chandler, Arizona. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
“Mr. Finchem objects to the certification of EVS 18.104.22.168 due to technical issues raised by his expert. But state law and [the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)] vest the authority to certify software in accredited laboratories. To the extent this court can parse an unsworn PowerPoint presentation for a technical argument (that, for what it’s worth, is nowhere discussed in the body of the Amended Statement),” Julian added. “Mr. Finchem offers no legal theory under which the court can invalidate voting software certification under HAVA after it has been conferred by an accredited testing laboratory. Neither federal nor state law permit this court to second guess the technical judgment of accredited laboratories.”
The judge said that allegations of “tabulating machine failures” challenge election procedures.
“To the extent that Mr. Finchem argues that the use of Pro V&V or SLI Compliance for testing tabulators or software renders votes cast on them illegal; this court has already rejected those arguments. Mr. Finchem’s contest on the basis of ‘illegal votes’ is unsupported by any alleged fact and fails to state a claim under § 16-672(A)(4),” Julian wrote.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 05: Then-Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs held a campaign event at the Carpenters Local Union 1912 headquarters on November 5, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. ((Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images))
Furthermore, the judge shot down Finchem’s election challenges over “misconduct.”
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“As with illegal vote contests, a contest based on ‘misconduct’ cannot survive dismissal if predicated only ‘upon public rumor or upon evidence about which a mere theory, suspicion, or conjecture may be maintained.’ Hunt, 19 Ariz. at 263-64,” she said. “Errors and omissions in the election process also cannot sustain a ‘misconduct’ claim in the absence of fraud or allegations that the error affected the election result. Findley, 35 Ariz. at 269.”
Finchem’s lawsuit also argued that Hobbs had an “ethical duty to rescue herself,” and Julian responded that those arguments were “not well-pled facts.”
Newly elected Arizona Secretary of State, Adrian Fontes looks on during an interview at American Legion Post 41 on Nov. 14, 2022, in Phoenix. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
She ordered that the suit would be dismissed “with prejudice,” or permanently.
Fontes and Hobbs each had filed motions to dismiss the challenges, which the judge granted, as well as a request from attorneys for Hobbs and Fontes for sanctions – giving them 10 days to file their demand.
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Fontes, who will take the oath of office in January, praised the ruling on Twitter.
“Tonight’s ruling is about protecting the will of the voters, not about any single politician. The war against American fascism continues, but thankfully, this battle is won,” he said.
Fox News has reached out to Finchem’s attorney for comment.
Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News and Fox Business Digital.