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Trump pushes Pima County's Republicans to canvass voters

Nearly a year after the 2020 election, the former president is now urging Republicans in southern Arizona to conduct a canvass in order to remove 'fictitious' voters

TEMPE, Ariz. — Former President Donald Trump is urging Republicans in Pima County to canvass local voters, despite earlier warnings from the U.S. Department of Justice that canvassing in Arizona was potentially illegal if it intimidated residents.

In a statement released Friday, Trump continued to allege wrongdoing occurred in Arizona during the 2020 presidential election and called for the results to be decertified.

"Either a new election should immediately take place or the past election should be decertified and the Republican candidate declared a winner," Trump's statement read.

A Republican-led audit conducted in Maricopa County recently showed President Joe Biden beat Trump, which was the same result originally reached back in November.  

RELATED: GOP review finds no proof Arizona election stolen from Trump

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But the former president continues to target Arizona as one of the sources for his loss and is now directing his attention at Pima County, an area that has nearly 74,000 more registered Democratic voters than Republicans.

Trump said Pima County's high return rate for mail-in ballots in 2020 was suspicious and indicative of fraud.

Pima County officials said last October they received a large amount of mail-in ballots early on during the election cycle. Across Arizona, election officials noted record turnouts for mail-in and early voting. 

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry rejected Trump's suggestions that fraud took place in southern Arizona last November.

“Pima County conducted a free, fair, secure, and accurate election. The results were publicly audited via hand count by the County’s Republican and Democratic parties, and the results were certified by the Pima County Board of Supervisors and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey," he said Friday.

Huckelberry said Pima County has a bipartisan commission that's tasked with ensuring local elections run smoothly.  

"Pima County may be the only County in Arizona with such a multi-partisan commission whose sole role is to advise the County Board of Supervisors and the Elections Department on the conduct and security of county-administered elections," he added.

In his statement, Trump urged Republicans in Pima County to canvass fellow Republican voters so they can remove so-called "fictitious" voters from the system. 

When Republicans in Maricopa County planned to conduct a door-to-door canvass during an audit orchestrated by the Arizona Senate, the federal government was quick to advise them not to. 

In a letter sent to Senate President Karen Fann, the U.S. Department of Justice warned the auditors that canvassing could potentially violate the anti-intimidation prohibitions of the Voting Rights Act. 

"Such investigative efforts can have a significant intimidating effect on qualified voters that can deter them from seeking to vote in the future," the DOJ letter stated. 

Fann said in response that the audit team would defer canvassing indefinitely. 

But other Republicans have moved ahead with conducting their own canvass.

Liz Harris, an unsuccessful Republican legislative candidate and a real estate agent from the Valley, conducted a private door-to-door canvassing project earlier this year. 

The results of Harris' report were quickly disputed by some election experts who accused her of using “quasi-science" methods to reach her conclusions.

RELATED: Arizona Senate's election review records again ruled public

RELATED: 'History will remember': House holds hearing on Arizona audit

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