Arizona certifies Biden’s election victory over Trump

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Arizona officials have certified the state’s election results, formalising Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow victory over Donald Trump even as the Republican president’s lawyers continued to make baseless claims of fraud about the state’s vote count.

Democratic secretary of state Katie Hobbs and Republican governor Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.

“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Mr Ducey said.

He did not directly address Mr Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.

Ms Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary”.

Mr Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Mr Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of nearly 3.4 million ballots cast. Eleven Democratic electors will meet on December 14 to formally cast Arizona’s electoral votes for Mr Biden.

Even as Ms Hobbs, Mr Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere – but they provided no evidence of widespread fraud.

“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth which, to me, gives the state legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Mr Giuliani said.

Nine Republican state legislators attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.

Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful as Mr Trump continues to allege voter fraud while refusing to concede.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have said publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Confirmation of the results by the Democratic chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission started a five-day window for Mr Trump to file a lawsuit. On Saturday he promised to file a lawsuit either on Monday or Tuesday, a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. His lawyers have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.

Mr Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed he won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Mr Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 electoral college votes would not be enough to undo Mr Biden’s overall victory.

“There’s no basis at all for any assertion that there was widespread fraud that would have affected the results,” Wisconsin’s Democratic attorney general Josh Kaul said in a statement. He noted that Mr Trump’s recount targeted only the state’s two most populous counties where the majority of black people live.

“I have every confidence that this disgraceful Jim Crow strategy for mass disenfranchisement of voters will fail,” Mr Kaul said. “An election isn’t a game of gotcha.”

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