By Katabella Roberts
An Arizona appeals court has struck down a challenge filed by Republican Kari Lake regarding the results of the Arizona gubernatorial election, denying her request to have the current results thrown out.
Lake has claimed that a range of issues in Maricopa, Arizona, on Election Day—including problems with printers and vote tabulation machines—effectively disenfranchised Arizonans who were trying to vote.
Such issues were previously confirmed by Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, although the county has said that no voters were disenfranchised due to the problems.
In December, Lake filed a lawsuit asking the court to either re-do the election in Maricopa or declare her the winner after the results showed that she trailed former Secretary of State and now-Gov. Katie Hobbs by about 17,000 votes.
Hobbs was sworn in as governor on Jan. 2.
However, the Arizona appeals court in its 12-page opinion (pdf) on Feb. 16 upheld a lower court ruling on the matter and said that Lake had failed to provide enough evidence to proof her case.
Court Issues Decision
The court also noted that an expert Lake had cited in the lawsuit who agreed that voters had been “disenfranchised” due to the issues on election day had “based his opinion on the number of people who declined to complete his exit poll on election day and who he thus assumed had been unable to vote.”
“But the expert failed to provide any reasonable basis for using survey responses or non-responses to draw inferences about the motivations or preferences of people who did not vote,” the court wrote.
Lake had appealed the results of the election to the Arizona Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court but the latter was ultimately rejected by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson.
Lawyers for Lake had argued that Thompson had “erred by requiring she provide proof that her allegations of official misconduct affected” the election results, including that they intended to deny her victory.
However, the three-judge panel on Thursday said that “election results are not rendered uncertain unless votes are affected ‘in sufficient numbers to alter the outcome of the election,’” and that “this rule requires a competent mathematical basis to conclude that the outcome would plausibly have been different, not simply an untethered assertion of uncertainty.”
“Lake’s arguments highlight Election Day difficulties, but her request for relief fails because the evidence presented to the superior court ultimately supports the court’s conclusion that voters were able to cast their ballots, that votes were counted correctly, and that no other basis justifies setting aside the election results,” the court concluded.
‘Buckle Up, America’
“Lake’s claim thus boils down to a suggestion that election-day issues led to long lines at vote centers, which frustrated and discouraged voters, which allegedly resulted in a substantial number of predominately Lake voters not voting,” the court wrote. “But Lake’s only purported evidence that these issues had any potential effect on election results was, quite simply, sheer speculation.”
Following Thursday’s ruling, Lake took to Twitter where she vowed to take the case to the Arizona Supreme Court.
“I told you we would take this case all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court, and that’s exactly what we are going to do,” Lake wrote. “Buckle up, America!”
Elsewhere, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, a Republican, said in a statement that the court’s decision on Thursday “affirms what we have known to be true for months.”
“Lake presented no evidence that voters whose ballots were unreadable by on-site tabulators were not able to vote,” Hickman said. “As we have said, every valid vote was counted in a midterm election that saw near-record turnout.”
Meanwhile, lawyers for Hobbs in January asked the court to dismiss Lake’s challenge, asserting that the Republican failed to provide enough evidence regarding her claims that voters were disenfranchised during the midterm contest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.