A Maricopa County judge ruled Monday that Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake will have her day in court to challenge the county’s ballot chain of custody and the efficacy of voting machine tabulators and printers during the 2022 midterm elections.
Judge Peter Thompson dismissed eight other claims made by Lake in the lawsuit, but he said that a ballot inspection could occur on Tuesday at 8:00 a.m., which comes after Lake asked the Maricopa County officials to hand over several documents related to the election.
“It should proceed to trial,” said Kurt Olden, who represented Lake in court, according to a local Fox affiliate. “The people should get to see,” adding the suit is about “restoring trust in our election system.”
“The kind of debacle that happened on November 8 should never happen,” Olden said. “There are processes in place to make sure it doesn’t, and the defendants did not follow those processes — that’s the point, Your Honor.”
Lake claims voters were disenfranchised on Election Day from widespread polling issues in Maricopa County after its Recorder Stephen Richer and Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates told voters to cast ballots in secure drop boxes or a different location.
Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs received about 17,000 more statewide votes than Lake.
“Lake received the greatest number of votes and is entitled to be named the winner,” the lawsuit reads. “Alternately, the election must be re-done in Maricopa County to eliminate the effects of maladministration and illegal votes on the vote tallies reported by Maricopa County.”
Maricopa County, the most populous county in the state, had notable problems during the November 8 election, including printer and tabulation machine-related issues in at least 70 of the county’s 223 polling locations. Lake claims there were tabulator breakdowns at over 59% of the voting centers within the county on Election Day.
The court granted Lake’s request to inspect some ballots within the county from Election Day.
Those ballots will include 150 randomly selected early ballots, “ballot-on-demand” printed ballots, and “ballot-on-demand” printed ballots marked as spoiled on Election Day from six Maricopa County vote centers chosen by Lake’s representative.
Hobbs’ attorney argued that her former election opponent lacks evidence to support the allegations.
“In the end, Your Honor, if there is anything rotten in Arizona, it is what this contest represents,” said Abha Khanna, according to local media. “For the past several years our democracy and its basic guiding principles have been under sustained assault from candidates who just cannot or will not accept the fact that they lost.”
Maricopa County attorneys reportedly argued affidavits from voters showed they had to wait in longer-than-normal lines to cast their ballots but decried any election misconduct or evidence to support such fraudulent claims, including Lake’s lawyers misunderstood how the county’s chain-of-custody process works.
“This allegation is false, and will be easily disproven by the County if necessary,” Maricopa County lawyers wrote. “Plaintiff reviewed the County’s Early Voting Ballot Transport Statements, but the chain of custody documents for election day are different because the process for early ballot delivery is different on election day.”
Following Thompson’s ruling, Lake took to Twitter, slamming legacy media.
“The Fake News is in FULL Desperation-Mode,” Lake said in a tweet. “These headlines are almost comical. Bottom line—our Election Case is going to Trial starting on Wednesday. @KatieHobbs & @stephen_richer will be taking the stand.”
In a separate tweet, Lake said, “Buckle up, America. This is far from over,” after calling out Hobb’s failed attempt to have her former opponent’s case thrown out.
GOP Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem and GOP Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh have also filed lawsuits over the controversial election.
The Epoch Times reported that a Maricopa County Superior Court staffer said the judge would likely announce his ruling during a scheduled meeting on the morning of December 22.
Amanda Prestigiacomo contributed to this report.