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Judge rejects lawsuit seeking to void Arizona primary election results

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A judge on Tuesday tossed out a legal challenge to a problem-plagued presidential preference election in Arizona, ruling that the woes at the polls were not due to fraud.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Gass said there were insufficient grounds for granting the request to void the results of the March 22 nominating election, which was marked by long lines and controversy.

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In a ruling from the bench, Gass said there were glitches and possible missteps by election officials but that the results would not have changed.

“Elections are human endeavors. They are never, ever perfect,” Gass said. “Glitches are always something that we need to wary of and we need to work hard, and we need to fix them…. But they don’t rise to the level of fraud.”

Gass issued his verbal decision following a two-day hearing on the lawsuit brought by Tucson resident John Brakey, who alleged that election officials committed misconduct.

The lawsuit argued officials improperly handled voter registration requests and permitted illegal votes to be cast in the election. He also said erroneous ballots were counted and the number of polling locations were inadequate.

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He sought a repeat of the election, easily won by Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Brakey’s attorney Michael Kielsky told Reuters on Tuesday night that he was disappointed in the ruling, but that it likely will not be appealed.

The election brought widespread criticism to Arizona, which saw frustrated voters wait in line for as long as five hours to cast their ballots at a drastically reduced number of polls.

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In a cost-cutting move, county election officials slashed the polling locations to 60, compared with 200 in the election in 2012.

Officials immediately took the blame for the mistake, saying the decision was based on past voter turnout and an increase in mail-in votes.

The election also faces a separate federal court challenge by the state and national Democratic parties, along with the Clinton and Sanders campaigns.

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Justice department officials additionally have launched a probe into the handling of the election.

(Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Kim Coghill)


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Elections 2016

Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson send anti-trans signals to Trump’s evangelical base

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While Trump grabs headlines, his Cabinet members quietly use transphobia to shore up white evangelical support

The white evangelical vote is almost certainly a lock for Donald Trump in 2020, but it appears the president is taking no chances of losing this critical voting block. One major part of that strategy appears to be quietly deploying his Cabinet members, especially those associated with the Christian right, to generate stories highlighting the Trump administration's overt bigotry toward trans people, and its eagerness to deprive trans Americans of basic rights.

Just this week, both Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson snagged coverage by making community visits that were ostensibly for noble purposes, but were clearly meant to signal to Christian right voters their hostility to trans rights.

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Elections 2016

Intelligence official directly contradicts Trump administration’s excuses for suppressing whistleblower

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A top official in the intelligence community has disputed the factual basis for the Trump administration’s suppression of a whistleblower complaint believed to regard the potential misconduct of the president himself, a new letter released Thursday revealed.

The letter was made public by House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). He is locked into a fierce and potentially explosive dispute with an array of forces within the administration to obtain the complaint, which was made through proper channels by an intelligence official last month to the community’s inspector general. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was “credible” and “urgent,” and subsequent reporting from the Washington Post found that it concerns a “promise” made by Trump in communication with a foreign leader.

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Longtime GOP strategist explains why his party is getting crushed in the war of ideas

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Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on Wednesday warned the GOP that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might not be a pushover candidate against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Writing on Twitter, Stevens admitted that he had "no idea" if Warren would beat Trump next year, but he did say that "Trump and supporters are destroying [the] credibility of any center-right argument" thanks to Trump's "corrupt and unstable" governance.

When one of Stevens' followers said that Warren would not be able to fulfill her promises just by taxing the wealthy, he countered that this idea is still more popular than anything Republicans are championing.

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