Court: Judge does not find clear evidence of misconduct in Kari Lake election case
Hobbs to take office as Governor of Arizona on Jan. 2.
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Maricopa County judge has ruled against Kari Lake in her election lawsuit, affirming governor-elect Katie Hobbs’ win on Saturday.
In a decision Saturday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson, who was appointed by then-Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, found that the court did not find clear and convincing evidence of the widespread misconduct that Lake had alleged had affected the result of the 2022 general election.
Gov. Elect Hobbs’ campaign manager Nicole DeMont issued the following statement after the decision was handed down:
Lake, who lost to Hobbs by just over 17,000 votes, was among the most vocal 2022 Republicans promoting former President Donald Trump’s election lies, which she made the centerpiece of her campaign. While most of the other election deniers around the country conceded after losing their races in November, Lake has not. Instead, she asked the judge to either declare her the winner or order a revote in Maricopa County.
According to court papers:
Lawyers for Lake focused on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of Arizona’s voters. The defective printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by the on-site tabulators at polling places. Lines backed up in some areas amid the confusion. Lake’s attorneys also claimed the chain of custody for ballots was broken at an off-site facility, where a contractor scans mail ballots to prepare them for processing. They claim workers at the facility put their own mail ballots into the pile, rather than sending their ballots through normal channels, and also that paperwork documenting the transfer of ballots was missing. The county disputes the claim.
Her attorneys pointed to a witness who examined ballots on behalf of her campaign and discovered 14 ballots that had 19-inch images of the ballot printed on 20-inch paper, meaning the ballots wouldn’t be read by a tabulator. The witness insisted someone changed those printer configurations, a claim disputed by elections officials. County officials say everyone had a chance to vote and all ballots were counted, since ballots affected by the printers were taken to more sophisticated counters at the elections department headquarters. They are in the process of investigating the root cause of the printer problems.
County officials say the ballot images were slightly smaller as a result of a shrink-to-fit feature being selected on a printer by a tech employee who was looking for solutions to Election Day issues. They say about 1,200 ballots were affected by turning on the feature and that those ballots were duplicated so that they could be read by a tabulator. Ultimately, these ballots were counted, officials said.
Thompson had previously dismissed eight of the 10 claims Lake raised in her lawsuit. Among those were Lake’s allegation that Hobbs, in her capacity as secretary of state, and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer engaged in censorship by flagging social media posts with election misinformation for possible removal by Twitter. He also dismissed her claims of discrimination against Republicans and that mail-in voting procedures are illegal.
Chairman Bill Gates also released a statement regarding the court judgement:
To read the full decision handed down on Saturday, see below.
Lake shared her thoughts on Twitter announcing her planned appeal:
This decision comes down after former GOP candidate for Arizona Secretary of State Mark Finchem filed an appeal on Wednesday after a Maricopa County judge tossed out his lawsuit challenging the results of the election, and a judge threw out Republican Abraham Hamadeh’s challenge of election results in his race against Democrat Kris Mayes for Arizona attorney general. The court concluded that Hamadeh, who finished 511 votes behind Mayes and hasn’t conceded the race, didn’t prove the errors in vote counting that he had alleged.
A court hearing is scheduled Thursday to present results of recounts in the races for attorney general, state superintendent and for a state legislative seat.
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