Arizona Judge Will Consider Kari Lake’s Stolen Election Claims

Kari Lake has claimed since the November midterm that her loss in the Arizona race for governor was illegitimate 

The Republican candidate for governor will get an opportunity to make her case this week to a judge during a two-day trial set to begin on Wednesday. She will have a chance to call witnesses, inspect ballots and introduce evidence to prove she is the rightful winner of the race. Her Democrat opponent, Katie Hobbs, won by more than 17,000 votes. 

Lake is fighting long odds. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson said Lake would have to prove that the misconduct occurred and that it was intended for her to be denied victory, resulting in the wrong candidate being declared the winner. 

“We have a chance to show the world that our elections are truly corrupt, and we won’t take it anymore,” said Lake at an event for a conservative youth group, Turning Point USA.

There will be no jury. Judge Thompson will make a ruling on the evidence once it is presented. Whichever side loses the case will likely appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. Lake asks the judge to either order a revote in Maricopa County or declares her the winner. The new governor is set to take office on January 2. 

Hobbs’ lawyers say the trial will allow Lake to spread outlandish theories about election misconduct and will be a spectacle. 

“The court should not indulge this kind of a show that plaintiffs want to put on,” said Abha Khanna, Hobbs’ attorney, and urged the judge to dismiss the case in its entirety before the trial, “The court is not a theater.”

Judge Thompson has already dismissed eight of the ten claims raised in Lake’s lawsuit, including the allegation Lake made that Hobbs, in her position as secretary of state, and Stephen Richer, Maricopa County Recorder, engaged in censoring by flagging specific social media posts with misinformation about the election. The flagged posts could then possibly be removed by Twitter. 

The judge also dismissed Lake’s claims of discrimination against Republicans and that the mail-in voting procedures are not legal. 

Thompson took no position on the surviving claims or their merits but wrote that the law allows Lake to make her case. 

Lake has focused on problems with ballot printers at some Maricopa County polling places, which are home to more than 50% of the voters. Defective printers produced ballots that were too light for on-site tabulators at the polling places to read. In some areas, lines backed up amid the confusion. 

The affected ballots were taken to the more sophisticated election counters at the downtown Phoenix elections department headquarters. Officials with the county say all ballots were counted, and everyone had a chance to vote. They also said they investigated why some printers failed even though they used the same settings as during prior elections. 

Kari Lake’s second claim is that the chain of custody for ballots was broken at a facility off-site. There, a contractor scans mail ballots to get them ready for processing. She claims facility workers put their mail ballots into the pile instead of returning them through normal channels. Additionally, the paperwork documenting the transfer of ballots is missing. 

Maricopa County disputes that claim. 

Lake will have to prove that people intentionally interfered to steal the election from her and succeeded for both the chain of custody and printer claims. 

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that almost a century ago, mistakes by election officials weren’t sufficient enough to overturn election results; the losing candidate must show that the errors affected the results. 

Republican Abraham Hamadeh can challenge election results, proceed with lawsuit

At the same time, a judge in conservative Mohave County recently ruled that Republican Abraham Hamadeh can challenge the results of the election by proceeding with his lawsuit challenging the results of the election for attorney general. Hamadeh lost to Democrat Kris Mayes by 511 votes. The lawsuit filed by Hamadeh can proceed with his lawsuit after a Mojave County Judge approves the case. 

Hamadeh’s lawsuit raises printer issues similar to Lake’s suit and alleges that his campaign was affected by improper handling of ballots adjudicated or duplicated by humans because they also couldn’t be read by tabulators. 

Judge Lee Jantzen said Hamadeh could inspect ballots in Pima, Navajo, and Maricopa counties before a trial began on Friday. Results of an automatic recount of the race were scheduled to be released on Thursday but are delayed until after Hamadeh’s lawsuit is resolved.