Judge Dismisses Challenge To Arizona Presidential Preference Election

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 8:44pm
Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 10:23pm
(Photo by Jacob McAuliffe - KJZZ)
Voters lined up at the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park.

A judge Tuesday afternoon threw out a challenge to last month's presidential primary.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Gass said there was evidence of problems in the March 22 election as well as things that may have been done wrong. And the judge said it's certainly possible that the decision by Maricopa County to have just 60 polling places was a mistake and that the result was some people choosing to walk away rather than stand in line for more than five hours.

But Gass said nothing presented by the attorney for Tucsonan John Brackney was enough to allow him to void the result.

"The evidence suggests there may have been some glitches,'' Gass said at the end of the two-day hearing.

"Glitches are always something that we need to be wary of, and we need to work hard, and we need to fix them going forward,'' the judge explained. "But they don't rise to the level of fraud.''

As to that lack of polling places, Gass said any concerns should have been brought up to the Board of Supervisors — and, if necessary to a court — after the number was announced.

"Otherwise, what we face is trying to undo an election where more than a million people voted, and tell those more than a million people that we're not going to count their vote,'' he said.

Today's ruling may not be the last word.

Attorney Michael Kielsky has the option of taking the case to the Court of Appeals. And Gass acknowledged the appellate judges may have a different viewpoint about some of his conclusions.

But Gass said he expects his ruling to be upheld because of one simple fact: There is no evidence that the result of the March 22 vote would have been any different had some of the "glitches'' not occurred.