Republicans are seeking legal rulings in swing states concerning the party affiliations of poll workers during elections, including filing lawsuits in Arizona and Nebraska and raising questions about the party's representation among poll workers in the Michigan cities of Flint and Kalamazoo.
In Arizona, the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Arizona sued Maricopa County officials on claims that the county violated elections laws by having almost 150 more Democrats than Republicans staffed during the primary elections in August, but county officials say the gap was legal and not unusual.
In the lawsuit, filed this week, the party says 857 Democrats were poll workers in Maricopa County's voting centers in the August election, compared to 715 Republicans, and that no Republicans were working in at least 11 of the county's voting centers, reports The Hill.
In addition, the lawsuit claims that there were not equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats in the county's central boards in charge of tabulating and receiving ballots and that the county did not provide records to GOP groups to show proof of trying to find party poll workers for the 11 centers in question.
Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates and County Recorder Stephen Richer, in a statement, called it "absurd" to believe the county would try to keep Republicans out of elections, considering that several county elections officials, including themselves and four elections board members, are Republicans, reports The Washington Post.
"We feel that we've done an excellent job of this. There is not a requirement that there's exact parity," Gates said at a news conference Tuesday before the lawsuits were announced. "Compared to previous elections, we've had probably better cooperation, as has been mentioned earlier, from the Republican Party even than in the past."
Richer said the county has seen "more Republicans participate as temporary workers than ever before in county elections history."
"Notably, the RNC's lawsuit doesn't allege any violation of election laws or procedures; it's a sound and fury of a public records request that was made a mere three business days ago," they also said in the statement.
The lawsuit seeks to make the county shorten its shifts for poll workers to make the jobs more accessible and to force officials to release the release of records about those who worked the polls.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a tweet Wednesday that Republicans in Arizona have been "shut out of the process," but Maricopa County Supervisor Thomas Galvin, a Republican, accused her of "wasting GOP donor money and more importantly @MaricopaCounty resources & tax dollars on a PR stunt that's using AZ's court system as a political playground … I'm sick of grifters attacking AZ."
Most states, including Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan, require that clerks try to have a mix of Republicans and Democrats working at poll locations, but that can be difficult in counties where there are large majorities of either party.
But in Arizona, where the Republicans' lawsuit calls for county officials to relax shift rules and claimed workers were forced to work as many as 14 hours, Tom Liddy, the civil services division chief for the Maricopa County attorney's office, said their claims are made up from "whole cloth and completely inaccurate."
Liddy, a former deputy counsel to the RNC, also told the Post that before the lawsuit was filed, the county had planned to release records related to the poll workers, and the RNC had agreed to that approach.
Liddy also said he asked the RNC to drop its lawsuit, and said he may pursue sanctions against its attorneys if it doesn't comply.
In Michigan, Davina Donahue, an interim city clerk in Flint, said election officials have made efforts to have at least one Republican working every precinct in the August election, but that effort was made difficult because there are far more Democrats than Republicans in the community.
"We are trying to work harder to recruit and have more people from the Republican Party participate," Donahue said.
Election workers in Kalamazoo recently tried to contact 54 poll workers from a list the party provided, but just 16 responded and 11 were determined to be able to work the polls, the Post reports.
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