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Judge mulls request to halt Brnovich's threat to secretary of state

Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs are disputing over when the state's “E-Qual” system should be updated with new voting districts.
Credit: AP
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, news conference in Phoenix where he announced consumer fraud lawsuits against e-cigarette makers Juul Labs and Eonsmoke. The Republican said both firms used deceptive marketing of flavored products with high nicotine content to hook young people. Juul has suspended most marketing and flavors and says it is working with state prosecutors to discourage youth vaping. Eonsmoke didn't immediately comment. (AP Photo/Bob Christie)

PHOENIX — A top lawyer in Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office is urging a judge to slap down Secretary of State Katie Hobb’s request to block Brnovich from prosecuting her if she temporarily shut down an online portal candidates use to collect signatures. 

Deputy Solicitor General Michael Catlett told the judge Wednesday that Hobbs would be breaking the law if she shuts down the “E-Qual” system during the final four weeks of the nomination period. 

Hobbs’ attorney argued that the timing is unavoidable because of upcoming county elections. 

And lawyer Roopali Desai says Hobbs is stuck between competing laws requiring her to maintain an online signature system and mandating that signatures only be accepted from qualified voters.

Brnovich, a Republican who is running in his party's primary for U.S. Senate, had one of his lawyers threaten to prosecute Hobbs last month if she temporarily shuts down the system. Hobbs is running for governor. 

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