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April 14, 2024 8:22 am

Local News

Kari Lake Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Her Loss, Let Her Skip the Appeals Process

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by Caitlin Sievers, Arizona Mirror

Kari Lake has — once again — appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court in her bid to overturn her 17,000-vote loss last year that has so far been rejected at every turn because she has failed to produce evidence backing up her bombastic claims of fraud and vote-rigging. 

Lake on Friday petitioned the state’s high court to take up her case, after losing her second trial in Maricopa County Superior Court in May, in which she called for either a new election or to be named governor. The Supreme Court and the defendants in the case, including Gov. Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County, have not yet responded to her petition. 

In doing so, she is asking the high court to allow her to skip the normal appellate process because of its “statewide importance, and the urgency of remedying election maladministration affecting the 2022 election and the upcoming 2024 election.”

In the eight months since the 2022 election, Lake, a Trump-endorsed Republican, has not conceded victory to Hobbs, a Democrat who took office more than seven months ago. 

“The cloud over the 2022 election must be resolved to restore faith in that and future Arizona elections,” Lake wrote in the petition. 

Lake, a 2020 and 2022 election denier, lost to Hobbs in November by more than 17,000 votes, but that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to claim that she’s the true Arizona governor, or from asking for donations to support her legal efforts. 

Lake and the attorneys representing her, Scottsdale divorce lawyer Bryan Blehm and Washington, D.C., employment attorney Kurt Olsen, are asking the Supreme Court to take the case away from the Court of Appeals, after the case was moved around two weeks ago from the state’s Division 1 Court of Appeals to Division 2. 

Lake’s case was one of several cases randomly chosen to be transferred from the much busier Division 1, which covers the northern part of the state including Phoenix, to Division 2, which covers the southern portion, including Tucson. 

In the petition to the Supreme Court, Lake asks for a reversal of the trial court’s decision or for a new election, saying that she has developed new evidence since the trial that warrants her request. Plaintiffs are typically not allowed to present new evidence during the appeals process, which instead focuses on whether lower courts correctly applied the law. 

Lake and her attorneys have repeatedly made dramatic announcements on social media regarding what they called new evidence of corruption, malfeasance or incompetence that they say impacted the 2022 general election in Maricopa County, but so far the trialappeals and Supreme courts have not found that evidence convincing. 

This time, Lake is accusing Maricopa County of hiding that hundreds of tabulators experienced errors during testing ahead of the election and that it falsely certified the tabulators before that testing. She also claims that the county used an uncertified version of software on its tabulators, instead of the version certified to be used in Arizona. 

In her petition, Lake points to an independent investigation of 2022 Election Day issues ordered by Maricopa County and led by former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor. During printer testing, McGregor’s team found that four printers randomly printed the wrong size of ballots with no explanation. 

This issue, which also happened in Maricopa County on Election Day 2022, caused tabulators at polling places to be unable to read those wrong-sized ballots, although those ballots were counted later. Lake says that this wrong-sized ballot issue could only have been caused intentionally through the use of malware or remote access to the tabulators, but neither the courts nor McGregor’s investigation agreed with that conclusion. (Tabulators are not allowed to be connected to the Internet, and every examination of Maricopa County’s election equipment has confirmed that no devices ever were.)

Lake claimed in her original election challenge lawsuit that someone had intentionally tampered with the printers in an effort to disenfranchise in-person Election Day voters, who swung heavily Republican. But she provided no evidence to back up the assertion, and the trial, appellate and Supreme courts did not find Lake’s claims to be valid.

Likewise, the independent investigation team found no evidence of tampering. 

In the petition, Lake also reiterates her argument from the second trial, that signature review on early ballot envelopes happened more quickly than humanly possible, at just a few seconds per signature. But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ultimately disagreed with that claim. 

Lake’s second trial in Thompson’s courtroom, over the signature verification issues, happened after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of all but one of the claims from the initial trial, held in December. The high court sent only the signature verification issue back to Thompson, resulting in the second trial.

This article originally appeared in AZ Mirror and is republished here under a Creative Commons license