Hamadeh Election Contest Heading to Trial, But Ruling Denying Motion to Dismiss Leaves Unanswered Questions

Today the Mohave County Superior Court issued an order allowing Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh’s election contest to proceed to trial. But the written order is wanting in several key respects.

First, the Court generally concluded the case should proceed to trial because the plaintiffs alleged “facts this Court should be considering” and “[t]his information does need to be part of the record.” What facts? The Court does not elaborate.

Second, the Court purported to allow Counts I through IV to proceed to trial, but only excerpted the plaintiffs’ descriptions of Counts I, II, and IV.  What about Count III – did that cause of action truly survive the motion to dismiss?

Finally, the Court does not describe the basics as to how the plaintiffs met their evidentiary burden to proceed to trial. The Court reproduced plaintiffs’ descriptions of various causes of action in the Complaint – for example, the Court characterizes Count I as “Erroneous Count of Votes and Election Board Misconduct; Wrongful Disqualification of Provisional and Early Ballots” – but which provisional and/or early ballots are at stake for trial? What makes those ballots “wrongfully” disqualified? Of course, all this can be reverse engineered by reading the parties’ pleadings – but written judicial rulings normally fill in these blanks for the reader.

Defendants are no doubt disappointed their motions to dismiss fell flat.  But plaintiffs should be a bit disappointed as well, having received no written roadmap how the Court preliminarily views the strength of their evidence as the Friday trial date approaches.

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