UPDATE, 12:15pm: Judge Mahoney denied the Secretary of State's motion to consolidate the two cases and to not dismiss the Sharpiegate case. More details and the ruling itself can be found here.
The legal maneuvering surrounding Arizona's ballot counting for the Presidential race kicked into high gear over the weekend, as Arizona's Secretary of State tried to block the Plaintiff in the so-called Sharpiegate lawsuit from voluntarily dismissing their case hours before the Trump campaign filed a new suit alleging irregularities.
The Sharpiegate notice of dismissal came Saturday afternoon, shortly after Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney had issued a scheduling order that would move the case along quickly without discovery.* That was quickly followed by the new case filed by the Trump campaign (and the national and Arizona Republican parties).
Sunday night, attorneys for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs moved to block the Sharpiegate dismissal and to consolidate it with the Trump suit. They noted that the issues significantly overlap and that that would be the most efficient way to resolve these issues. (The Trump lawsuit takes the Sharpie bleed-through issue a step forward and alleges that poll workers did not properly advise voters how to handle ballots the tabulating machines flagged.)
The Secretary of State's pleading (below) notes that the RNC had filed a proposed Answer to the Sharpiegate lawsuit when they asked to intervene, and that the Answer was accepted the moment Judge Mahoney allowed both political parties to intervene. Consolidating the two lawsuits would expedite the matter because the same parties would not have to start from square one in front of a new judge.
(Not surprisingly, the conservative legal group behind the Sharpiegate suit this morning asked to intervene in the Trump campaign's lawsuit.)
*Normally, a plaintiff can dismiss a case without approval of other parties or the judge if no one has filed an Answer to their Complaint.
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