PHOENIX – Arizona lawmakers and lawyers for President Donald Trump will hold a meeting at a downtown hotel on Monday to discuss the election as they continue to challenge his defeat earlier this month, although he there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
The rally could rally Trump supporters and provide counter-programming on the same morning the Arizona Secretary of State is due to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state, but it’s unclear how lawmakers could do anything about the outcome of the race. .
As the Trump campaign andStateThe Republican Party has filed an election lawsuit in Maricopa County, has presented no evidence of fraud and judges have so far dismissed the cases.
Governor of the Republic Doug Ducey said earlier this week that he trusted the state’s electoral system after delaying recognition of Biden’s winning the state, citing pending court cases.
“I’ve said it a number of times: Arizona is a good government state,” Ducey said Tuesday. “I have confidence in our electoral system. There is integrity in our electoral system. Joe Biden won Arizona.”
Nonetheless, announcing that he would chair Monday’s meeting, Rep. Mark Finchem, of R-Oro Valley, said his “worst fears came” after “looking at potential fraud avenues and illegal actions by which our 2020 elections could have been marred “.
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Not a legislative hearing
The meeting at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix is not a Legislative Assembly hearing, as the Finchem and Trump campaign legal team projected.
The state legislature is not in session. The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Speaker of the Senate can call committee meetings between sessions, but they have not authorized the event.
Finchem said he sought approval a few weeks ago for a meeting of the House Federal Relations Committee, which he chairs, but had not received permission from House leaders .
“After a review of statistical anomalies, and there are numbers to be counted [sic], affidavits of inappropriate acts and community outrage which arose out of what appears to be an attempt by voters to run the election through a number of fraudulent efforts, we have decided as members of Parliament from the ‘Legislative Assembly, and not as members of a specific committee, that we should go ahead with a public hearing,’ Finchem wrote in a press release.
Jenna Ellis, the president’s lawyer, wrote on Friday that she would be present with Rudy Giuliani, the most prominent figure in the Trump campaign’s legal efforts. But the invitation indicated that the president’s legal team would be “present from DC,” suggesting that at least some of the attendees could appear via video conference.
The event is scheduled to run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. MST, with a one-hour lunch break at noon. Attendance was limited due to COVID-19, and tickets for the public have been fully booked as of Friday afternoon. Finchem’s press release stated that the event would be broadcast online.
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The aim is to convene an extraordinary legislative session, but what to do then?
A public invitation to the Phoenix event said that “the goal will be to gather the evidence that justifies calling a special session to examine what happened and take immediate action accordingly.”
It is still unclear what lawmakers might do with the presidential election. It’s also not clear that they could convince Ducey to call a special session or involve Democrats to muster the supermajority needed to call a special session without governor’s approval.
The US Constitution gives the Legislature the task of deciding how the state’s presidential voters will be chosen. But the Arizona Legislature has tasked voters with picking those voters on election day.
A “voter infidelity” provision in state law, and supported by Republicans, requires voters to vote for the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in the state.
Senate Republicans asked lawyers for the Legislative Assembly this month for an opinion on the matter. The answer: the legislature should change these laws to change the way presidential voters are appointed.
Even then, according to the opinion, the changes could not apply to this election because the voters have already chosen the voters at the ballot box.
Follow Andrew Oxford on Twitter at @andrewboxford.
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