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Judge Rules Heart of Lake's Lawsuit Will Go Forward - Voting Machines and Ballot Custody at Center of Case

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Arizona Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ruled Monday night that two issues at the heart of Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s election challenge will go to trial.

The lawsuit filed against Maricopa County election officials and Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs challenged the validity of Hobbs’ win over Lake by just over 17,000 votes in the Nov. 8 governor’s race.

Hobbs and Maricopa County had filed a motion to dismiss the entire election challenge.

Thompson set aside eight of 10 counts of Lake’s complaint, including whether the state followed the law regarding signature verification of mail-in ballots, as well as Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s involvement in founding and helping raise funds for a political action committee dedicated to defeating MAGA Republican candidates like Lake.

The judge also dismissed claims that Republicans’ constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated on Election Day by the county’s conduct of the contest.

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Several media outlets made much of Thompson’s decision to dismiss the majority of the counts in Lake’s suit and played down the fact that the heart of it went forward.

Phoenix Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV tweeted, “A Maricopa County judge has dismissed most of Kari Lake’s election lawsuit.” Lake’s campaign rightly identified the tweet as “spin.”

At the core of Lake’s legal complaint are Count 2, involving Election Day ballot printer issues, and Count 4, involving chain-of-custody documentation affecting over 300,000 ballots.

Are you glad Lake's lawsuit is going to trial? 

Count 2 states that the ballot-on-demand printers and tabulators were not properly certified prior to Election Day, when, according to Lake’s legal team, 59 percent of polling stations (132 locations) had machines malfunction. Hours-long lines resulted in many of these locations.

The county has said 70 sites were impacted — about one-third.

Lake argued that since Republicans outvoted Democrats 3 to 1 on Election Day, what happened was large-scale voter suppression of her supporters.

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Thompson ruled the ballot-on-demand printers did not have to be certified because they are not part of the vote-counting process.

He wrote in his order that Lake’s team must show at trial that someone interfered with the settings on the printers, which would be a violation of Arizona law, and that the interference resulted in “identifiable lost votes” affecting the outcome of the election.

Given the 17,000 votes separating Lake and Hobbs, it would take a net of about 130 Lake supporters being prevented or discouraged from voting at each of the 132 ill-functioning polling stations to make the difference. If the true number of polling locations experiencing issues was 70, that would translate to 240 Lake voters per site.

Poll worker Mike Peterson told the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors this month that over 500 voters at his polling location in the Paradise Valley area of Phoenix were in effect disenfranchised, and that’s just one site at the end of Election Day.

Thompson is also allowing Count 4 of Lake’s election suit to go to trial, which alleges chain-of-custody issues involving over 300,000 ballots.

Lake’s complaint states, “Maricopa County failed to maintain and document the required secure chain of custody for hundreds of thousands of ballots, in violation of Arizona law, including … for over 298,942 delivered to Runbeck.” Runbeck Election Services is the company the county uses for processing and scanning ballots.

According to Lake’s legal team, a whistleblower at Runbeck said she witnessed large numbers of ballots being delivered without documentation.

“Chain of custody documentation must show the location, ballot container seal numbers, date, time and ballot couriers for every transfer. Yet ballots were transferred without documentation of chain of custody,” Lake’s lawsuit says.

In April, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office released a report finding that between 100,000 and 200,000 ballots lacked proper chain-of-custody documentation in the 2020 general election in Maricopa County. So chain-of-custody documentation appears to be an ongoing problem in the county.

The whistleblower also stated that Runbeck employees were able to add ballots of family members at the facility in violation of state law. “There is no way to know whether 50 ballots or 50,000 were unlawfully added into the election in this way,” Lake’s legal team wrote.

Thompson made clear in his order that both allegations, if true, would be a violation of Arizona election law.

Lake celebrated her election challenge going to trial at Turning Point USA’s America Fest in Phoenix on Tuesday.

“Christmas came early yesterday. We are going to trial. This is so historic,” she said.

Lake stated that the trial will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We need you to continue to pray for our team. This is serious stuff. … We have a chance to show the world that our elections are truly corrupt, and we won’t take it anymore,” Lake said.

The fact that over half (or one-third) of polling places experienced major problems pretty much simultaneously on Election Day is strange, to say the least.

This trial will be something to see!

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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