The last remaining election misconduct claim made by Republican Kari Lake, who is running for governor of Arizona in 2022, has been rejected by the judge, setting up a three-day trial over the other person TV anchor’s challenge of her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs.
Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson refused to dismiss Lake’s claim regarding early ballot signature verification efforts in Maricopa County in a Monday night decision.
Thompson argued that Lake should be allowed to testify regarding whether Arizona’s most populous county correctly verified the signatures on ballot affidavit envelopes.
Wednesday is the trial’s scheduled start date.
Thompson, Lake is not disputing whether or not the signatures on voters’ ballot envelopes matched the signatures on their voting records.
She claimed that Maricopa County officials did not conduct higher-level signature verifications on ballots flagged for any irregularities by lower-level screeners.
Lake will have difficulty demonstrating the truth of her claim regarding the signature verification efforts and how they affected the conclusion of her race.
According to a statement from Clint Hickman, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors as well as one of the defendants in Lake’s lawsuit, the county has previously demonstrated in court that its signature verification procedure is “thorough, legal, and always subject to bipartisan oversight.”
“We have nothing to hide,” Hickman said. “We are proud of our team, proud of our processes and confident we will prevail in a courtroom where the facts matter above all else.”
When supporting the election lies of former president Donald Trump, Lake was one of the most outspoken of the Republican candidates running last year.
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Lake refused to concede after losing his race in November, unlike the majority of other election deniers across the nation.
Most of her lawsuit was dismissed by the courts. Thompson listened to arguments late last week regarding whether or not the final claim should go to trial.
The claim that Lake rigged the election is unfounded, lawyers for Hobbs and the Arizona election officials.
More than 60% of the state’s voters reside in Maricopa County, where Lake’s attorneys claim there was a flood of mail-in ballots when there weren’t enough workers to check the signatures at the polls.
Her attorneys argue that thousands of votes that staff members had initially rejected due to having inconsistent signatures were ultimately accepted by the county.
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After a lower court ruled that she had waited too long to bring up her claim, the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated her lawsuit contesting the use of signature verification processes.
In an election that Lake missed by over 17, 000 votes, the state Supreme Court remanded the case back to the lower court to determine whether there was another reason to dismiss it or whether Lake could demonstrate that enough votes were impacted to change the result.
Three people who checked signatures reported that 15% to 40% of the ballots they came across had mismatched signatures, which resulted in rejection rates.
The opposing attorneys criticized the three election workers’ speculation and argued that it did not constitute a legal violation or election worker misconduct.
They also questioned whether the three workers had a proper understanding of the outcome of the ballots that had been flagged.
Earlier in her lawsuit, Lake had concentrated on issues with the ballot printers at a few Maricopa County polling locations.
The flawed printers created too faint ballots for polling on-site tabulators to read. In some areas, lines were backed up due to the confusion. Lake claimed that deliberate misconduct caused the issues with the ballot printer.
Because those impacted by the printers were transferred to more technologically advanced counters at election headquarters, county officials claim that everyone had a chance to vote and that all ballots were counted.
The Arizona Court of Appeals declined Lake’s claims in the middle of February, finding that she had not provided any proof that voters whose ballots were not legible to tabulators at the polls could not cast a vote.
Since Lake claimed more than 35,000 ballots were added to the total votes, the state Supreme Court declined to hear nearly all of her appeals on March 22.
Earlier this month, the court fined Lake’s attorneys $2,000 for making false claims regarding the improper addition of more than 35,000 ballots to the final count.
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