Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County election officials on Friday, alleging that the widespread problems experienced by Election Day voters were enough to change the outcome of the highly contested gubernatorial race.
Filed in Maricopa’s superior court against Secretary of State and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, County Recorder Stephen Richer, and the county’s board of supervisors, the lawsuit raises numerous issues regarding Maricopa’s conduction of the 2022 election, which Lake claims disenfranchised thousands of predominantly-Republican voters.
“The debacle that occurred in Maricopa County on [Nov. 8] — was ‘chaos’ as Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates admitted on live TV during a press conference held shortly after Election Day,” the suit reads. “Video footage, first-hand accounts, and expert testimony directly contradict Maricopa County officials’ public statements deliberately attempting to downplay [the pandemonium].”
Within hours of polls opening on Election Day, printers with misconfigured settings in at least 70 of Maricopa’s 223 voting centers produced ballots that were rejected by many of the center’s vote tabulator machines, leading to long wait lines and confusion among poll workers and voters. While Gates and Richer told voters they could leave their original centers to vote at another location, the unfamiliarity with existing “check out” procedures resulted in more chaos.
Upon arriving at alternate centers, some voters were told by election officials that the county’s e-Pollbook had them marked as having already voted since they hadn’t been properly “checked out” of their original locations.
“The result of this confusion was predictable — a larger reduction in the number of votes cast for Lake, a much smaller reduction in the number of votes cast for Hobbs, and a highly improper relative advantage created for Hobbs,” the lawsuit reads.
Lake claims that Election Day voters in Maricopa favored her over Hobbs by a 3:1 ratio and their ability to properly vote would have resulted in her gaining between 15,000 to 30,000 votes in the county’s final election canvass. According to Arizona’s certified election results, Hobbs defeated Lake by roughly 17,000 votes.
Also included in the legal filing are accusations of illegal ballots being tabulated over the course of the election. Citing sworn testimony from several poll workers involved in Maricopa’s signature verification and curing process for early voting ballots, Lake contends that the county’s signature verification managers “had a practice of sending already rejected ballots back through the process,” which allegedly led to as many as tens of thousands of ballots with “mismatched signatures” being officially counted.
Testimonies alleging chain of custody issues are also included in the suit, with Lake asserting that Maricopa election officials failed to document chain of custody records for nearly 300,000 ballots as required by Arizona law.
In addition to requests for access to Maricopa’s 2022 ballots and an examination of the printer-tabulator problems, Lake has asked the court to vacate the certification of the 2022 gubernatorial contest and require Maricopa County to re-conduct another election “in conformance with all applicable law and excluding all improper votes.” She furthermore has demanded that the court invalidate all illegal votes “on an absolute or prorated basis.”
“This case is about restoring trust in the election process — a trust that Maricopa County election officials and Hobbs have shattered,” the suit reads. “The judicial system is now the only vehicle by which that trust can be restored.”