President Donald Trump on Friday floated the possibility that the race for the U.S. Senate in Arizona might need to be redone because of alleged “electoral corruption.”
The electoral contest between Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, both current members of the House, is one of the key races around the country that has yet to be called as election officials are still counting thousands of ballots. The fight to fill the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake took a dramatic turn Thursday when state officials announced Sinema had taken a lead over McSally with a razor-thin edge of about 8,000 votes.
Election officials are still counting ballots in crucial counties such as the state’s largest, Maricopa County, where voters are being allowed to resolve discrepancies with their mail-in ballots in cases where the signature on the voter registration doesn’t match that on the return envelopes. Writing online on Friday, Trump suggested the activity might be fraudulent.
“Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH,” Trump wrote aboard Air Force One en route to Paris. “Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!”
Voters have up to five days after Election Day to “cure” their ballots in Maricopa and Pima counties, which combined represent a total of 425,000 uncounted votes. Voters may need to cure ballots if their signatures change or if they can no longer sign as they used to because of a disease or disability. Election administrators are calling the voters with ballot issues to ensure they cast a vote.
Republicans are uneasy about the possibility that a state traditionally seen as a conservative stronghold might be tilting to the left. Four local GOP parties have filed a lawsuit challenging the signature curing process, asking the court either to stop the process or allow the state government to take control of it. A judge was set to hear the case Friday.
Neither candidate vying for the seat has conceded defeat.
Similar election issues and legal challenges have embroiled other crucial, high-profile races, such as the Senate and governor’s race in Florida, and the governor’s race in Georgia.
Trump on Friday also cried foul about the yet-to-be-decided Senate and gubernatorial races in Florida, claiming without evidence that Democrats were engaging in “election theft” to deny Republican Gov. Rick Scott the Senate seat.