Kari Lake election lawsuit moves forward after ruling

The former gubernatorial candidate alleged that at least 164,000 illegal votes were counted,...
The former gubernatorial candidate alleged that at least 164,000 illegal votes were counted, according to The Associated Press.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 9:16 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -- Kari Lake’s lawsuit against Gov. Katie Hobbs claiming election misconduct is moving forward. On Monday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson approved one count in Lake’s lawsuit to continue in court regarding signature verification procedures in the 2022 general election.

Lake’s attorneys say the county accepted thousands of ballots that had been rejected by workers for having mismatched signatures. The Arizona Supreme Court revived her claim challenging the application of signature-verification procedures, reversing a lower court decision that found she waited too long to raise that claim. The state Supreme Court sent the claim back to the lower court to decide if there is another reason to dismiss it, or if Lake can show that enough votes were affected to change the outcome of the election, which she lost by over 17,000 votes. Thompson then ruled there is enough evidence to continue with trial, which starts on Wednesday.

The former gubernatorial candidate alleged that at least 164,000 illegal votes were counted, according to The Associated Press. Three signature verification workers have said they experienced rejection rates due to mismatched signatures on 15% to 40% of the ballots they encountered.

However, Gov. Hobbs’ lawyers argue that Lake fails to show that specific mail-in ballots were illegally counted. They said the verification workers’ speculation doesn’t amount to a violation of the law or misconduct by election workers and raised questions about whether the three workers truly knew the ultimate outcome of the ballots they had flagged.

Secretary of State Adrian Fontes also claimed that Lake didn’t state in her complaint exactly how many ballots were improperly counted, but Thompson ruled she isn’t required to show that. “Lake must prove a competent mathematical basis to win at trial, but she need not plead a specific number of votes in her complaint under notice pleading,” Thompson’s ruling read.

Lake also said she’s not challenging the signature process review but rather alleging there was misconduct in Maricopa County’s signature verification process. Her lawyers must prove that no signature verification was done by unauthorized reviewers.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisor Chairman Clint Hickman released a statement regarding the court’s ruling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.