Arizona judge dismisses most of Kari Lake’s lawsuit challenging election results

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An Arizona judge has dismissed most of Kari Lake’s election lawsuit contesting the victory of her opponent, Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs (D), after Lake for weeks seized on unproven voter fraud allegations.

Lake had asked the judge to set aside Hobbs’s certified victory based on 10 counts, alleging election officials in Maricopa County — which comprises most of the state’s population — committed misconduct and tabulated hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson on Monday evening dismissed eight of the 10 counts, ruling that they did not fall under the proper criteria to bring election challenges under Arizona law, even if true, so they did not merit further consideration.

But Thompson allowed a trial to move forward on two other counts that he said, if proven, could state a claim under the statute governing election challenges: alleged intentional interference by election officials affecting Maricopa County ballot printers and chain of custody violations.

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Lake, an ally of former President Trump who promoted unfounded claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election and declined to commit to accepting this year’s results prior to Election Day, must now prove those two allegations in a trial scheduled for later this week.

Lake framed Monday’s ruling as a win for her campaign, writing on Twitter, “Our Election Case is going to trial. Katie Hobbs attempt to have our case thrown out FAILED. She will have to take the stand & testify. Buckle up, America. This is far from over.”

Since the midterms, Lake has railed against Maricopa County officials and Hobbs, calling the election “botched” and a “sham” as she vowed to appeal her case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Maricopa County as well as Hobbs, in both her capacities as secretary of state and a gubernatorial candidate, dispute Lake’s claims and had asked the judge to dismiss all 10 counts.

Hobbs and the county in asking for the complete dismissal argued that many of Lake’s allegations were based on procedures put in place well before last month’s election, saying those claims had to be brought before Election Day.

They also contend that the Lake campaign’s arguments are also unfounded and would fail on their merits in trial.

“If there’s anything rotten in Arizona, it is what this contest represents,” an attorney for Hobbs said at the hearing. “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. The judiciary has served as a bulwark against these efforts to undo our democratic system from within.”

Maricopa County, which spans the Phoenix area, has become an epicenter of voter disenfranchisement allegations after some of the county’s Election Day vote centers experienced printer malfunctions.

Election officials insist affected voters could have used one of multiple backup options, but Lake, noting that Election Day voters in Arizona favor Republicans, claimed that election officials had intentionally sabotaged her victory and their backup options still disenfranchised voters.

“Plaintiff must show at trial that the [Election Day] printer malfunctions were intentional, and directed to affect the results of the election, and that such actions did actually affect the outcome,” the judge said of the first remaining count in Monday’s order.

For the other remaining count, Lake claims that more than 300,000 Maricopa County ballots did not have proper chain of custody paperwork.

The county disputes that claim, arguing that Lake does not understand the various forms of paperwork and indicating Maricopa has all necessary documentation on file.

Lake’s campaign in court filings had also promoted an array of other allegations dismissed by the judge, including that some mail ballots were tabulated despite mismatched signatures.

Lake had also taken aim at the Arizona secretary of state’s office, which Hobbs leads, for flagging multiple tweets containing falsehoods about the Arizona’s elections. Twitter ultimately decided to remove those tweets.

“This case is also about a secret censorship operation set up by the government that would make Orwell blush,” Lake’s attorney said during a Monday hearing, referring to George Orwell, who wrote the “1984” dystopian novel.

Lake is one of multiple GOP nominees to challenge the results of their election.

Judges have dismissed separate election contests filed by a state senator who contested Hobbs’s gubernatorial win, and another filed by defeated Arizona secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem (R), who challenged his Democratic rival’s victory.

Arizona Republican attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh, who trails his Democratic opponent by just 511 votes out of 2.5 million ballots ahead of an automatic recount, has also contested his race’s results.

A state judge in Arizona’s Mohave County similarly heard arguments about a dismissal motion in that case on Monday, but Hamadeh’s contest, which was joined by the Republican National Committee, remains ongoing.

–Updated on Dec. 20 at 8:25 a.m.

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