ARIZONA NEWS

Here’s what we know about Republican Kari Lake’s election lawsuit

Dec 20, 2022, 10:12 AM | Updated: 2:32 pm
Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake greets supporters at an election night rally on Nov. ...
Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake greets supporters at an election night rally on Nov. 8, 2022, in Scottsdale. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — An Arizona judge denied motions to dismiss Kari Lake’s lawsuit disputing her loss to Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs in a ruling issued Monday night, meaning the case can continue.

However, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson threw out eight of the 10 counts in the Republican’s complaint, which was filed Dec. 9.

Thompson took no position on the merits of the two remaining claims, but he said the law allows her to make her case.

The ruling means Lake can call witnesses, possibly including Hobbs in her capacity as Arizona’s current secretary of state and Republican Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, in an attempt to prove that she lost because of misconduct by election officials during the Nov. 8 general election.

Lake wants the court to either declare her the winner or order a revote in Maricopa County. She lost to Democrat Hobbs by more than 17,000 votes out of 2.6 million cast statewide.

Here’s what we know about the case as of Tuesday morning:

What’s next?

The judge granted Lake’s request for her legal team to examine 150 ballots on Tuesday.

Her attorneys will then attempt to prove in a two-day hearing scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday that ballot printers malfunctioned in Maricopa County because of intentional interference by election officials and that ballots were improperly added at a county contractor that handles returned mail ballots.

Thompson will make a ruling after the hearing. Regardless of how he decides, it will likely be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.

What is Lake’s case?

Lake has zeroed in on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of Arizona’s voters. Some printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by the on-site tabulators on Election Day because of incorrect toner settings. Lines backed up in some areas amid the confusion.

Affected voters were given the option of going to a different polling site or putting their completed ballots into a secure box to be tabulated later at the more sophisticated counters at the elections department headquarters in downtown Phoenix. County officials say everyone had a chance to vote and all ballots were counted.

Lake faces the extremely high bar of proving not only that misconduct occurred but that it affected the outcome of her race.

What else was in Monday’s ruling?

The judge dismissed a variety of constitutional claims, including Lake’s allegation that Hobbs and Richer engaged in censorship by flagging social media posts with election misinformation for possible removal by Twitter.

The court also ordered the parties to provide the list of witnesses to be called by each side by noon Tuesday.

What about other election lawsuits?

A judge in Mohave County said he would rule Tuesday on whether to dismiss a challenge filed by Abraham Hamadeh, the Republican candidate for attorney general who lost by 511 votes to Democrat Kris Mayes.

The race was close enough to trigger an automatic statewide recount, the results of which could be released as soon as this week.

Last week, a judge dismissed Republican Mark Finchem’s lawsuit seeking a revote after his loss to Democrat Adrian Fontes for secretary of state.

Because the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, it cannot be refiled and the judge will entertain motions for sanctions against the plaintiffs.

In April, Lake and Finchem filed a suit seeking to bar the use of tabulation equipment in this year’s elections. A federal judged deemed the complaint frivolous and ordered the plaintiffs’ attorneys to pay Maricopa County’s legal fees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Here’s what we know about Republican Kari Lake’s election lawsuit