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Gov. Doug Ducey

PHOENIX -- Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday he has seen no evidence of "widespread fraud or irregularity'' in the conduct of the Arizona election.

But he said he has no interest in using his voice to shut down those claims that are being spread by supporters of President Trump who continue to argue that the election was illegally stolen by the Democrats.

What Ducey was willing to do is condemn Trump supporters who have been making threats against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and even have picketed her house and yelled at her.

"That's unacceptable, completely unacceptable,'' he said. "And I denounce any threats of violence against anyone in elective office, or any Arizonan or American.''

And the governor said the Department of Public Safety has offered additional security for Hobbs and her staffers.

"But that's different than a court challenge,'' he said, pointing out that there is still litigation over the vote tallies.

"We are going to allow whatever legal challenges that come to be swiftly adjudicated inside the state of Arizona,'' he said. "And I will respect the election.''

But that lone remaining case goes solely to the question of whether the decision of the method to decide which batches of ballots to set aside for a hand count in Maricopa County complies with state law.

At a hearing Wednesday, attorneys for the county argued that the legal challenge by the Arizona Republican Party comes too late. But the judge postponed a request by attorneys for the party to bar the supervisors from formally certifying the vote, something set now for Friday

None of that, however, has kept Trump supporters from making even more charges and raising other questions.

That continued Wednesday as Kelli Ward, chair of the state Republican Party, demanded that even more ballots be pulled out for a hand count than required by law. And she resurrected charges from a now-dismissed lawsuit that thousands of people who cast their ballots at polling places were disenfranchised by being told to push "the green button'' which would override mistakes they made in voting for more candidates for an office than allowed.

Ducey, for his part, said he will not use his voice, either as governor or the highest elected Republican in the state, to quell that talk even if it could undermine public confidence in the electoral process. Instead, he retreated to a generic defense of how voting occurs here.

"I've said and I've bragged on Arizona's election process that we're good at elections,'' he said.

The governor pointed out that Arizona was one of the earliest states to allow all residents to vote by mail, a process that Trump repeatedly criticized as leading to widespread fraud.

In fact, more than 88% of the votes in the presidential race were in early ballots.

But Ducey balked at making any comment about how this most recent election was conducted.

"You want me to make a declaration before the legal process plays out,'' he said.

And the governor said it's not for him to decide that the process was fair when his name was not on the ballot. That, he said, is up to the candidates.

"In the Senate race, the sitting senator was satisfied with the vote count, saw no legal irregularity that needed to go to the court, and conceded,'' Ducey said, referring to Martha McSally whom the governor appointed to the seat formerly held by John McCain. "I followed up with a congratulatory call to Senator-elect Mark Kelly.''

There will be no such call to Biden, the governor said until "the legal challenges play out.''

The entire controversy is mired in politics.

Aside from the challenge to the Maricopa County hand-count procedure, supervisors in Mohave County voted 4-1 to delay the legally required formal certification of the vote tally there.

Board members conceded they do not question the accuracy of the count performed in their county but instead said they wanted to see how things played out elsewhere.

And two Pima County supervisors, both Republicans, also refused to vote for the formal tally. But that didn't stop the process as the other three board members gave their approval.

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