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Kari Lake Takes Her Election Challenge Case to Arizona Supreme Court

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Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake filed her election challenge of Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs’ win in the November election at the Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Lake’s campaign tweeted, “[Kari Lake] swore to the people of Arizona that she would take our fight for election integrity to the Arizona Supreme court. Today, her attorneys filed to do just that. We pray for justice.”

In December, a trial court judge ruled against the former news anchor stating her legal team failed to prove with sufficient “clear and convincing” evidence that there was intentional misconduct by Maricopa County officials impacting the result of the race.

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Last month, the Appeals Court of Arizona affirmed the trial judge’s ruling, though conceding Lake’s point that intentional misconduct by election officials is not what her legal team had to prove.

“We agree that there may be circumstances under which something less than intentional misconduct may suffice,” Appeals Court Chief Judge Kent E. Cattani wrote, citing case law where the mistakes could be sufficient if they affect the outcome of the race or make it uncertain.

But concluded Lake’s lawyers did not prove the many problems in Maricopa County on Election Day may have changed who the winner was.

Hobbs defeated Lake by approximately 17,000 votes or about 0.7 percent.

Do you think the Maricopa County election should be thrown out?

In her appeal to the Supreme Court, Lake argues that Maricopa County officials did not follow election law by failing to maintain a chain of custody of all the ballots cast on Election Day, by not adequately testing election equipment, and by not following signature verification requirements.

Lake’s attorneys allege in their filing that there were 35,563 unaccounted-for ballots added to the total cast on Election Day after they were sent to a third-party vendor, called Runbeck Election Services, for processing.

The number is significant because it exceeds Hobbs’ margin of victory.

Further casting doubt on the true winner of the election, according to Lake, ballot printers throughout Maricopa County (the Phoenix metro area) were misconfigured, causing tabulators to not be able to read ballots, and long lines forming on Election Day, when Republicans outvoted Democrats 3-to-1.

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“Maricopa’s failure to perform mandated [logic and accuracy] testing led to tabulators rejecting ballots at nearly two-thirds of Maricopa’s 223 vote centers over 7,000 times every thirty minutes, beginning at 6:00 am and continuing past 8:00 pm — causing massive disruptions, hours-long lines and disenfranchising thousands of predominantly Republican voters on Election Day,” Lake’s court filing says.

Finally, Lake’s appeal points to, “whistleblowers conducting signature verification at MCTEC came forward with the evidence that Maricopa disregarded Arizona law and allowed tens of thousands of uncured ballots with nonmatching signatures to be counted.”

Ballots are cured by election officials reaching out to confirm the identity of the voter.

Lake argues that the appeals court ruling “effectively immunizes election officials’ noncompliance with Arizona’s election laws.”

“The Legislature did not intend election officials to have this degree of insulation,” the filing reads.

The lawsuit concludes, “The undisputed facts, and the violations of law, show that Maricopa’s 2022 election must be set aside. Trust must be restored. This Court should grant review to correct this manifest error.”

The Arizona Law blog reported that the Supreme Court agreed to expedite Lake’s suit.

Response briefs from Hobbs, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer are due by March 13.

The justices plan to meet on March 21 to decide whether to take Lake’s case.

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