Kari Lake's Case Going Back to Trial: Judge Rejects Maricopa County's Motion to Dismiss


Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s challenge of Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ win in November’s election is going back to trial on Wednesday.

On Monday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ordered the trial to proceed, rejecting a motion to dismiss filed by Maricopa County.

Lake tweeted Monday night, “We’re going to Court. Get ready!”

In March, the Arizona Supreme Court remanded the issue of whether the mail-in ballot signature verification process was followed in Maricopa County during the election back to the trial court.

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By the official tally, Hobbs prevailed in the contest by approximately 17,000 votes, or 0.7 percent of the more than 2.5 million ballots cast statewide, but Lake is questioning the legitimacy of tens of thousands of those ballots.

On Friday, Thompson heard oral arguments in the case as he considered Maricopa County’s motion to dismiss.

The county said in its court filing that Lake’s signature verification claim should be dismissed because her legal team “has not identified with specificity any ballots that should not have been counted.”

Lake attorney Kurt Olsen told Thompson on Friday that whistleblowers who worked in November’s election in Maricopa County revealed to his team that Level 1 reviewers were rejecting 25 to 40 percent of mail-in ballots for non-matching signatures, The Arizona Sun Times reported.

Ballots rejected by Level 1 reviewers go to Level 2 reviewers, who either decide the signatures do match and send the ballots through for counting or determine the signatures do not match and seek to contact the voter to confirm identity. This is called “curing.”

Olsen calculated that for the 1.3 million ballots cast in Maricopa, as many as 500,000 were rejected by Level 1 reviewers.

“As a consequence, clearly mismatched signatures which were not cured and were illegal were entered into the system,” he told Thompson.

VoteBeat Arizona reporter Jen Fifield reported in March, based on numbers she received from the county, that in the 2022 general election, “workers marked 18,510 signatures as ‘non-matching,’ and of those, 15,411 voters confirmed it was their ballot, or ‘cured’ their ballot. That led to 3,099 rejected for bad or missing signatures. Of those, 1,299 were missing signatures and 1,800 were bad.”

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In a Tuesday interview on Real America’s Voice, Lake told “War Room” host Steve Bannon, “This challenge is not simply about a few bad signatures. We are prepared to show the systemic failure of the entire signature verification process — the only way we have security on those mail-in ballots, by the way. And it’s a complete joke.”

“Signature verification is one of the only methods to verify that a mail-in ballot would be authentic, and the process we have in Maricopa County is a complete sham. They’re not following the law at all,” Lake added.

Lake told Bannon that her legal team met with three whistleblowers “who were intimately involved in the signature verification process in Maricopa County.”

“They speak of how they were rejecting tens of thousands of signatures, up to the tune of maybe 130,000 ballots. And then somewhere above them in the chain of command, they were just being sent on through,” Lake said.

She asserted that thanks to this lax verification process, hundreds of thousands of bad ballots were injected into the system.

“We’re confident that the number of fraudulent ballots exceeds the 17,000 margin separating myself and Katie Hobbs in their count of the election,” Lake said.

She concluded, “They’ve dragged us through hell, and we’re standing up and fighting back.”

County Recorder Stephen Richer defended Maricopa’s signature review process in the 2022 election, telling Fifield some improvements have been made since 2020.

She reported that the county “increased training for workers who review signatures, increased the signatures the workers had to compare, added an audit step for approved signatures, and increased the number of people doing the work, according to a Votebeat review of county documents and data.”

Richer told The New York Times in March following the Supreme Court decision to remand a portion of Lake’s election challenge back to the trial court that “since the 2020 general election, Maricopa County has won over 20 lawsuits challenging the fairness, accuracy, legality and impartiality of its election administration.”

He continued, “This case will be no different, and will simply add another mark to Lake’s impressively long losing streak.”

A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.

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