Arizona’s Supreme Court Wednesday declined a gubernatorial candidate’s motion to immediately leapfrog her appeal and bypass the state’s Appellate Court.
Former broadcast journalist Kari Lake filed a December lawsuit against former Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and several Maricopa County officials. Lake contends her 17,000 vote loss to the Democrat Hobbs resulted from improperly functioning ballot printers in Maricopa County. She also noted the unusually long wait times caused by the printing issues resulted in some of her supporters not voting because of time constraints.
Her legal action requested judicial relief in the form of either a do-over election in Maricopa County or simply declaring her the winner and installing her as state governor.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson last month dismissed Lake’s case, arguing she did not present sufficient evidence to prove her claims.
“Every single witness before the Court disclaimed any personal knowledge of such misconduct,” Thompson explained in his order. “The Court cannot accept speculation or conjecture in place of clear and convincing evidence.”
Lake promptly appealed, petitioning both Arizona’s Court of Appeals and the state’s Supreme Court.
Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, a Republican, acknowledged there were issues with vote tabulating machines being unable to read some ballots November 8. The county chief executive claimed the tabulating machine issues did not disenfranchise any voters.
A report from the county’s Elections Department acknowledged Oki B432 printers experienced an issue affecting the ability of the on-site tabulators to accept some ballots.
“If an on-site tabulator could not read the ballot, the voter was instructed to deposit the ballot into a secure ballot box (“Door 3”) to be counted at Maricopa County’s central counting facility,” election officials noted in the report. “These 16,724 Door 3 ballots represent 1% of the total ballots issued to voters during the 2022 General Election.”
The narrow margin of victory in the Arizona gubernatorial race November 8 propels Lake to continue seeking judicial intervention.
Arizona’s Court of Appeals entered an order January 9 consolidating her appeal and special action. The court also issued an expedited briefing schedule, advising her appeal would be conferenced February 1.
Lake expressed concern that wording in the appellate court’s order may lead to lengthy delays and submitted a second motion to Arizona’s Supreme Court for an emergency hearing.
Judge John Lopez IV gave no credence to her fears of foot-dragging, though.
“As indicated by the Court of Appeals’ order setting an accelerated briefing schedule, the Court has no reason to doubt that the Court of Appeals appreciates Petitioner’s desire for an expedited resolution,” Judge Lopez explained before denying her second petition.
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