Judge Rejects GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake’s Final Election Loss Claim

On Monday, a judge dismissed the only remaining legal claim in Republican Kari Lake’s challenge of her 2022 loss in the race for Arizona governor and affirmed the election of Democrat Katie Hobbs to the state’s highest office.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson said Lake did not prove her claim that Maricopa County failed to verify signatures on mail ballots as required by law.

Lake was among the most vocal GOP candidates last year, building a loyal following among Trump supporters. She is openly considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Kyrsten Sinema, a former Democrat, now an independent. Lake has also frequently been mentioned as a potential choice for a running mate for former President Donald Trump.

While many others who denied the results of election results across the country conceded after losing in November, Lake did not. She has touted her legal battles in speeches and fundraising appeals nationwide.

Lake filed suit after losing to Democrat Hobbs by around 17,000 votes and asked the courts to install her as governor or order a new election. Judge Thompson dismissed the case, but the Arizona Supreme Court revived a claim challenging how procedures for signature verification were used on early ballots in Maricopa County. The county was home to more than 60% of the state’s voters. Officials in the county defended the signature verification efforts and maintained they had nothing to hide.

Lake’s signature verification claim was the topic of the three-day trial. Her attorneys argued that there was evidence that lower-level screeners found inconsistencies in signatures and ran them up the chain of command, where they were then neglected by verifiers at higher levels.

Lake didn’t contest whether voters’ signatures on ballot envelopes matched those on voting records.

The GOP former television anchor faced a high bar in proving her allegations of lax signature verification efforts, but they also affected her race’s outcome.

Thompson, appointed by former GOP Governor Jan Brewer, determined Lake did not meet that high bar.

“The evidence the Court received does not support Plaintiff’s remaining claim,” wrote Thompson.

Lake claimed problems with defective ballot printers caused misread of ballots

Lake had focused on problems with ballot printers at some Maricopa County polling places earlier in her lawsuit. The defective printers produced ballots too light to be read by polling place on-site tabulators. In some areas, lines were backed up amid the confusion. Lake alleged the problems with ballot printers resulted from intentional misconduct.

Officials with the county say all ballots were counted because those affected by the printers were taken to election headquarters to be calculated by more sophisticated counters, and everyone had a chance to vote.

The Arizona Court of Appeals rejected Lake’s assertions in mid-February, concluding she had presented no evidence that voters whose ballots were deemed unreadable by tabulators at polling places were unable to vote.

The following month, the state Supreme Court declined to hear almost all of Lake’s appeals and said there was no evidence to support her assertions that over 35,000 ballots were added to vote totals.

Earlier this month, the court issued sanctions to Lake’s lawyers totaling $2,000 for making false statements saying that over 35,000 ballots had been improperly added to the total count.