Sanders’ Legal Team Considering Federal Lawsuit Challenging Maricopa County’s Election Practices

Bernie Sanders’ attorney, Chris Sautter, announced that the campaign is considering a federal lawsuit that would challenge the election practices of Maricopa County. Sautter said that the lawsuit may be in collaboration with other concerned groups. The Arizona election that took place on March 22 has been at the center of significant controversy.

Though many voters have urged Bernie Sanders to actually challenge the results of the Arizona primary, the Democratic presidential candidate’s attorney says that challenging the results of Arizona’s election would mean the difference of only a couple of delegates, cost the taxpayers a significant amount of money, and fail to address the heart of the actual issue in Arizona.

Instead, the legal action Sautter said on Friday that he is considering would be a federal lawsuit challenging the election practices seen in Maricopa County, according to ABC News.

“We concluded that an election contest is too narrow and restricting a venue to address the widespread problems in Maricopa County that occurred on Election Day and disenfranchised tens of thousands of Arizona voters,” Sautter said.

The county has publicly admitted to Election Day mistakes, recognizing that by dramatically cutting the number of polling locations and allegedly underestimating the voter turnout, the election was a failure. Some voters assert that deliberate or unintentional voter suppression occurred by limiting Election Day votes, which skewed the results in favor of Clinton. Clinton was significantly favored in the ballots that had been mailed in before the primary. At a hearing before the House Elections Committee, members of the public stated the announcement that Clinton had won the state very early in the day as evidence.

The polling locations in Maricopa County had been reduced in number, despite acknowledgement in the second week of March by Helen Purcell on Twitter that Maricopa County surpassed two million active registered voters.

Purcell originally blamed the voters for choosing to vote on Election Day, according to KTAR.

The situation was so questionable that the Department of Justice has launched an official inquiry that will examine whether Maricopa County officials violated voting rights laws. The Justice Department sent an official letter to Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell asking her to explain the decision to reduce polling places from 200 locations in 2012 to less than one-third of that number this year.

This year, Maricopa County set only 60 polling locations.

The Justice Department also wants to know how those polling places were selected. Additionally, the Justice Department requests information on why such staggering numbers of voters found themselves listed as independents, when they claim that they had been previously registered in their parties. Justice Department Voting Section Chief Chris Herren requested information from Purcell on 10 specific items in total. The inquiry comes after significant public outrage and a request from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking for an investigation. Just under a half-million anti-voter suppression petition signatures were also delivered to the Justice Department, according to’s Laura Packard.

The Arizona election results were certified Monday by Secretary of State Michele Reagan, according to an article in the Arizona Republic. Despite Sanders’ lawyer stating that the campaign itself will not contest the results in Maricopa County, the state election results do not actually stand uncontested. A Tucson man, named John Brakey, has filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court challenging Arizona’s presidential primary results. The lawsuit claims that between voter registration discrepancies and Election Day balloting problems, the state’s election results are rendered illegal. Brakey’s lawsuit contesting the results actually names all 15 Arizona counties and Secretary of State Michele Reagan, Reuters reported.

Brakey’s lawsuit, in part, seeks an order rescinding certification of the results, “until such election is properly conducted and in compliance with every requirement of Arizona law.” A hearing on the lawsuit is set for April 19.

The lawsuit that the Sanders campaign is considering pursuing would be aimed at preventing future problems like those that were seen amidst the Maricopa County primary which are detailed at a hearing of the House Elections Committee in the video below.

[Image via Arizona For Bernie Sanders/Facebook]

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