Arizona 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake was back in state court Thursday seeking access to review mail-in ballot envelope signatures from November’s general election in Maricopa County.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer denied Lake’s request. In a Monday court filing, the county invoked a “privacy interest” to protect voters’ information as the reason for the denial of access.
In a post on the X social media site on Tuesday, Richer said, “I believe these envelopes are not public record according to state statute. And I believe that making them public would have a chilling effect on voting, would weaken the security controls on early voting, and would open the door to voter harassment.”
Lake responded Wednesday, “Professional Victim @stephen_richer is lying again. We’re not asking these signatures to be made public. We are asking to review them to assess whether they are legitimate or not. We have a STRONG reason to believe they’re not. Clearly, so does Stephen.”
Professional Victim @stephen_richer is lying again.
We’re not asking these signatures to be made public.
We are asking to review them to assess whether they are legitimate or not.
We have a STRONG reason to believe they’re not.
Clearly, so does Stephen. pic.twitter.com/0KxW1a1TkR
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) September 20, 2023
In Maricopa County Superior Court on Thursday, Lake attorney Bryan Blehm argued people put their signatures into the stream of public commerce regularly, noting they appear on credit card slips and various types of legal forms for the public to see.
“Signatures … tell people, ‘This is who I am. I attest to that.’ And that’s exactly, your honor, what people do when they sign these ballot affidavit envelopes,” he said.
“Signatures are not in and off themselves protected whether they be voters or whether they be commercial transactions,” Blehm added.
“Signatures have never really been anything special. And that’s why we so routinely, so commonly, so every day, your honor, deposit them into the stream of commerce where they wind up on the County… pic.twitter.com/8AIw50GkDU
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) September 21, 2023
Lake’s legal action follows a ruling in state court this month that county officials did not follow the signature verification process required by Arizona law.
Yavapai County Superior Court Judge John Napper found that the “statute is clear and unambiguous,” requiring “the recorder to review the voter’s registration card” and not other documents containing the voter’s signature.
The statute at issue provides that election officials “shall compare the signatures thereon with the signature of the elector on the elector’s registration record.” If the ballot envelope signature and the signature on file do not match, the county is to reach out to the voter and seek to confirm the person’s identity.
Lake said in a statement regarding the ruling, “Maricopa County’s complete abandonment of signature verification standards has allowed for the integrity of our elections to be washed away.”
“Election laws aren’t suggestions or guidelines, they’re the law. I am thankful the court has reminded Secretary of State [Adrian] Fontes and Recorder Richer of that fact,” she continued.
“Following this ruling, I have the utmost confidence that we will win our lawsuit to review the early ballot signatures later this month,” Lake said.
She told Real America’s Voice on Thursday morning, “Maricopa County is throwing a fit. They’re trying to look like we’re going to put everyone’s personal information out and that these are not for public consumption, and they frankly are.”
“We’re going to ask a judge to take a look at this and to grant us the ability to see those green envelopes that people mail their ballots back in, and we’re going to prove that mail-in ballots are not safe, are not secure, that many don’t have signatures, that many of those signatures do not match,” Lake said.
— Grace Chong 🇺🇸 (@gc22gc) September 21, 2023
She has a case before the Arizona Court of Appeals challenging Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ win in November’s election.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.