Kari Lake Challenges Election Defeat in Arizona Governor’s Race

Republican Kari Lake, recently defeated in the Arizona governor’s race, is formally challenging her loss to now governor-elect Democrat Katie Hobbs. Lake is asking a court to throw out the certified election results from the most populous county in the state and either rerun the gubernatorial election in that county or declare her the winner. 

Lake’s lawsuit centers on long lines and difficulties faced by voters on Election Day in Maricopa County. The challenge, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, alleges hundreds of thousands of ballots were cast illegally. Lake has refused to acknowledge the election results.

Candidate Lake has swamped Maricopa County with complaints, including a problem with printers at some voting centers that resulted in ballots being printed with markings that were too light to read by on-site tabulators.

Voting lines backed up in several polling places, fueling suspicions that some voters may have been unable to cast a ballot. Maricopa County officials say everyone could vote and that all ballots were legally counted.

Lake has filed suit against Maricopa County and Hobbs officials in her current role as the Secretary of State of Arizona. The spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office said the lawsuit by Lake was under review but had no further comment on the filing. 

Maricopa County spokesperson, Jason Berry, declined to comment on the filing and request to throw out the county’s election results in the gubernatorial race. Berry said the county “respects the election contest process and looks forward to sharing facts about the administration of the 2022 general election and our work to ensure every legal voter had an opportunity to cast their ballot.”

Hobbs: Lake’s lawsuit is “latest desperate attempt to undermine our democracy and throw out the will of the voters”

In a post on her Twitter account, Katie Hobbs called Lake’s lawsuit “latest desperate attempt to undermine our democracy and throw out the will of the voters.” She also posted a statement from her campaign manager that called the lawsuit a “sham” and said her team remains focused on “getting ready to hit the ground running on Day One of Katie Hobbs’ administration.”

Lake’s lawsuit claims Republicans were disproportionally affected by Maricopa County’s problems because they outvoted Democrats on Election Day by a 3-1 margin. Leaders in the GOP urged their voters to wait until Election Day to vote. 

In late November, candidate Lake filed a public records lawsuit that demanded Maricopa County turn over documents related to the election. She also wants to know the identity of voters who may have had difficulty casting a ballot, including people who checked in to more than one voting center or those who checked into a polling place but also returned a mail ballot.

 Over the summer, a federal judge also rejected a request by Mark Finchem, the Republican candidate defeated in the campaign for secretary of state and Lake, to require all ballots cast during the November election be hand counted. 

That judge has since sanctioned lawyers representing Finchem and Lake, saying they “made false, misleading, and unsupported factual assertions” in their lawsuit. The lawyers maintained that the claims were “legally sound and supported by strong evidence.” In her role as secretary of state, Hobbs has petitioned the court to begin automatic statewide recounts as required by law in three races that were decided by less than half of a percentage point. 

The race for Arizona attorney general was one of the closest contests in state history. Democrat Kris Mayes leads Republican Abe Hamadeh by only 510 votes out of 2.5 million that were cast. The races for a state legislative seat and superintendent for public instruction in the Phoenix suburbs will also be recounted, although the margins between candidates are much more significant.