One of the few unresolved congressional races in the nation could come down to whether voters in a heavily Latino precinct in Arizona get their ballots counted this week.
Backed by two high-powered lawyers, a supporter of Republican congressional candidate Martha McSally filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to get election authorities to halt counting of provisional ballots from a heavily Latino area of the state’s Cochise County.
The suit could be pivotal as McSally is trying to unseat Rep. Ron Barber (D) in southern Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. At last count, McSally was trailing Barber by just 512 votes, but the lead had changed hands multiple times since election night.
Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly reported that Barber campaign manager Jessica Floyd called the lawsuit an “active attempt by Martha McSally’s attorneys to disenfranchise voters in Cochise County.”
Eric H. Spencer and Michael Liburdi of the Snell and Wilmer law firm filed the suit in Cochise County Court on behalf of McSally supporter William J. Odle. They argued that 130 provisional ballots shouldn’t be counted because they “were not sealed, as required, when they were transported from the Castro Park, Ramsey and Hopi Precinct polling locations to the Cochise County Elections Department and Recorder’s Office.” The lawyers said 96 of the provisional ballots came from Castro Park, a heavily Latino precinct that leans Democratic.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Daniel Scarpinato told the Tucson Weekly that NRCC officials believe “every voter has the right to an election that is free of fraud and ballot tampering.”
Update: The Tucson Weekly reported late Tuesday the campaigns reached a compromise to let the counting continue, but the votes may be challenged in the future.