PHOENIX (AP) – Kari Lake has claimed for weeks that her defeat in the race for Arizona governor was illegitimate.
The former television anchor got his long-sought opportunity to plead his case before a judge this week during a two-day trial that begins on Wednesday. She will have a chance to inspect ballots, call witnesses and present evidence to prove she was the rightful winner of the race, which Democrat Katie Hobbs won by just over 17,000 votes.
She faces extremely tall odds. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson said she would have to prove not only that misconduct occurred, but also that it was intended to deny her victory and that the wrong woman was actually declared the winner.
“We have a chance to show the world that our elections are indeed corrupt and we will not take it any longer,” Lake said at an event for Turning Point USA, a conservative youth group, on Tuesday.
There is no jury. Thompson will rule on the evidence presented, which the losing side is likely to appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. Lake is asking the judge to either declare her the winner or order a retrial in Maricopa County. The new governor assumed office on 2 January.
Hobbs’ lawyers say the trial will be a farce and an opportunity for Lake to spread bizarre theories about election malpractice.
Hobbs’ attorney Abha Khanna told the judge on Monday, “The court should not be involved in the kind of show that the plaintiffs want to put on.” “The court is not a theatre.”
Thompson dismissed eight of the 10 claims raised in his lawsuit on Monday, including Lake’s allegation that Hobbs, in his capacity as secretary of state, and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer were involved in the possible removal Elections engaged in censorship by flagging social media posts with misinformation. Twitter. He also rejected her claims of discrimination against Republicans and said that the mail-in voting process is illegal.
Thompson took no position on the merits of Lake’s two surviving claims, but wrote that the law allows him to make his case.
Lake was one of the most vocal Republicans in 2022 promoting former President Donald Trump’s election lie, which he made a centerpiece of his campaign. While most other election deniers across the country accepted after losing their races, Lake did not.
He has focused on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of the electorate. Defective printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by on-site tabulators at polling places. Lines were backed up in some areas amid the confusion.
The affected ballots were taken to more sophisticated counters at the Elections Department’s headquarters in downtown Phoenix. County officials say everyone got a chance to vote and all ballots were counted. Officials have said they are investigating why some Oki brand printers failed when used with the same settings as prior elections, but it appears to be a problem with the fuser, which allows toner to be imprinted on the paper. warms up to.
Lake’s second claim is that the chain of custody of the ballots was broken at an off-site facility where a contractor scans mail ballots to prepare them for processing. She claims that the facility’s employees put their own mail ballots in the pile instead of returning them through normal channels, and that paperwork documenting the transfer of ballots is missing.
The county disputes the claim.
For both claims of printer and chain of custody, Lake must prove that people intentionally interfered to steal the election from him and succeeded. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled nearly a century ago that mistakes by election officials, even large ones, are not enough to overturn an election; The losing candidate will have to show the mistakes affecting the results.
Meanwhile, a judge in conservative Mohave County ruled Tuesday that Republican Abraham Hamadeh can proceed with his lawsuit challenging the results of his election for attorney general, which he lost to Democrat Chris Mayes by 511 votes. Hamadeh’s suit raises the same printer issues from Lake’s suit and also alleges that his race was affected by improper handling of ballots that were duplicated or adjudicated by humans because they could not be read by tabulators. .
Judge Lee Jantzen said Hamadeh could inspect ballots in Maricopa, Pima and Navajo counties ahead of Friday’s trial. The results of the automatic recount of the race were due to be released on Thursday, but will be delayed until Hamadeh’s lawsuit is resolved.
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