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Republican Activists Sue Kelli Ward, Demand Audit Of Arizona GOP Leadership Election

By Ben Giles
Published: Friday, March 12, 2021 - 1:12pm
Updated: Friday, March 12, 2021 - 2:40pm

Kelli Ward
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Kelli Ward

Two Arizona Republican activists sued the state party and GOP Chair Kelli Ward for refusing to audit the party’s recent leadership election.

In their complaint, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, William Beard and Sandra Dowling argue Ward is obligated under the state party’s bylaws to conduct an audit when a timely request is made after the election.

Ward has dismissed multiple demands for an audit of the GOP’s Jan. 23 election, when she declared a narrow victory in her bid for re-election to another two-year term as chair. 

Over two dozen party activists penned a letter to Ward in late January calling for an audit, and many Republican legislators have echoed those calls for transparency in the party’s election. In their own letter, GOP lawmakers wrote it was hypocritical of Ward to lead charges for audits of Arizona elections, particularly the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County, while refusing to hold the party to the same level of accountability. 

Jack Wilenchik, the state party’s attorney, has argued Ward doesn’t have the authority to conduct the audit some Republicans are seeking.