Defeated Arizona hopeful Kari Lake sues Maricopa County election officials
Defeated Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s campaign has sued Maricopa County and its election officials, demanding they respond to the campaign’s public records requests about malfunctions on Election Day before the county certifies its vote canvass on Monday.
Maricopa County, which spans the Phoenix area and comprises about 60 percent of Arizona’s population, has become the epicenter of election challenges this cycle, and the complaint marks the Lake campaign’s first post-Election Day lawsuit.
County election officials acknowledge printer mishaps at some vote centers on Election Day but insist residents still had multiple ways to cast a ballot for counting.
Lake’s campaign had filed two public records requests with the county last week seeking more data about the issues and the number of impacted voters, and the suit asks a state judge to order officials to produce the records before the certification meeting on Monday.
“This deadline (or its substantial equivalent) is, under the circumstances presented, necessary to ensure that vital public records are furnished promptly and that apparent deficiencies can be remedied before canvassing of the 2022 general election,” the complaint reads.
Democrat Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, was declared the winner of the gubernatorial race last week and leads Lake, who has refused to concede, by about 17,000 votes.
Lake and other GOP nominees have railed against Maricopa officials since the election, calling them “incompetent” and alleging the malfunctions resulted in voter disenfranchisement.
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Prior to Election Day, Lake, a prominent defender of former President Trump’s false 2020 election fraud claims, declined on multiple occasions to say if she would accept the results of the election if she lost.
The recent criticisms largely focus on ballot printers in Maricopa that used ink too light for tabulators to read. Election officials insist voters could wait in line until the issue was solved, cast a ballot at another vote center or deposit their ballot in a separate box for tabulation later, known as “door 3.”
Lake’s campaign has claimed some of the affected voters’ ballots won’t be counted because of improper checkout procedures and improper commingling of ballots.
On Election Day, the Lake campaign and a Republican coalition asked a state judge to extend voting in the county because of the issues, but the judge rejected the motion, saying he had seen no evidence that anyone was denied an opportunity to cast a ballot.
Lake’s new lawsuit, based on declarations from voters and poll workers, alleges 118 of the county’s 223 vote centers were affected by the printer issue, a higher number than the county’s suggestion of 70 affected locations, among other claims.
Although the suit does not demand a delay of Maricopa’s certification, Lake’s attorneys argued that reports the campaign received from voters meet the legal threshold for doing so.
The Hill has reached out to Maricopa County for comment.
The county is slated to certify the election on Monday — the state’s deadline for counties to do so unless it finds “missing” ballot returns — and officials have promised to respond to a separate request from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) demanding information about the issues before the meeting.
The GOP nominee to succeed Brnovich, who trails his Democratic rival by 510 votes out of more than 2.5 million ballots cast, formally contested his election result alongside the Republican National Committee on Tuesday ahead of an expected recount.