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Arizona certifies Biden’s election victory over Trump

A Maricopa County elections worker was seen as ballots were being counted in Phoenix.
A Maricopa County elections worker was seen as ballots were being counted in Phoenix.Matt York/Associated Press

(Bloomberg) -- Arizona certified Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the state on Monday, dealing the latest blow to President Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn his defeat and leaving Wisconsin as the last contested battleground state to formalize its election result.

The official canvass was carried out in Phoenix by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. The process was overseen by Governor Doug Ducey, Attorney General Mark Brnovich and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel.

The certification confirms that Biden won the state and triggers the appointment of electors who will cast Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes for Biden when they meet on Dec. 14, unless a court intervenes.

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It’s yet another loss in efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his election defeat by challenging the results in court and seeking to halt the certification in some states, despite what legal experts have said is a lack of evidence. Those tactics have met with numerous court defeats.

Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is among those participating in a “fact-finding” meeting on Monday at a Phoenix hotel with Republican legislators and supporters to discuss “election irregularities and fraud.” Giuliani was part of a similar meeting last week in Pennsylvania that featured Trump calling in to complain without evidence that the election was fraudulent.

Wisconsin is the last contested battleground state left to certify its results. That process is set to begin later Monday afternoon after a recount requested and funded by Trump’s campaign in two largely Democratic counties confirmed Biden’s win. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada certified Biden’s victories last week, and Georgia made his win there official on Nov. 20.

Biden’s victory in Arizona doesn’t qualify for an automatic recount because the winning margin is greater than the lesser of 200 votes or 1/10 of 1% of the difference between the two candidates. There’s no provision for a losing candidate to request a recount, according to the secretary of state’s office. Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward has said the party intends to file a challenge to the results of the election after the canvass is complete.

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The certification proceeded after a Maricopa County judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Arizona Republican Party on Nov. 19 that sought to force the state’s most-populous county to complete a hand-recount of some ballots, despite having no evidence of voter fraud or software errors. Democrats had accused the state GOP of trying to make the county miss the state’s certification deadline.

Trump has so far refused to concede, but he acknowledged during an interview Sunday on Fox News that the fight to overturn his re-election defeat “probably” won’t reach the U.S. Supreme Court, which had been the goal of his legal team.

The president and his lawyers have also been calling for Republican-controlled legislatures in swing states to ignore Biden’s popular vote victories and name competing slates of Trump electors, but several legislative leaders have said that won’t happen and legal experts say state legislatures can’t override the appointment of Biden electors after vote certifications.

The U.S. General Services Administration has acknowledged Biden as the apparent winner and the president called on his agencies to cooperate. That designation triggered a formal transition process, giving the president-elect and his team access to agency officials, briefing books and other government resources, including some $6 million in funding.

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