Judge grants Lake another day in court, allows for more review of signature verification count

Judge grants Lake another day in court, allows for more review of signature verification count

Lake, Hobbs, election, Supreme Court
Kari Lake speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023 on March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. A judge on May 15, 2023, decided to grant failed gubernatorial candidate Lake another day in court. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A judge granted failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake another day in court.

But the ruling issued by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson last night only allows for additional review of the signature verification count remanded by the Arizona Supreme Court.

Lake’s attempt to resuscitate a logic and accuracy test claim because of “bombshell” evidence was dismissed as it was a “wholly new claim,” untethered to her original election contest.

Lake must now prove, “by clear and convincing evidence,” that Maricopa County’s higher level signature reviewers conducted no signature verification or curing on ballot affidavit envelopes and “systemically failed” to comply with the law.

And she must establish on a “competent mathematical basis” the failure resulted in an opposite outcome in the gubernatorial election, overcoming about 17,000 votes.

Thompson heard arguments from attorneys for Lake, Maricopa County, the Secretary of State and the governor on Friday.

On the signature verification count, Kurt Olsen, attorney for Lake, portended claims from their experts in the upcoming trial and argued the timing did not align with the number of signatures verified, calling it “impossible.”

He contends Lake’s team does provide a competent mathematical basis, either by the proportionality standard or simply because of “illegal” votes that “far exceed the margin,” though the claim lacked specifics.

Hobbs, Lake, election contest, court
Gov. Katie Hobbs speaks with attendees at a Statehood Day ceremony in the Old Senate Chambers at the Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix on Feb. 14, 2023. (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

Abha Khanna, arguing for Gov. Katie Hobbs, again emphasized that Lake fails to meet her burden of proof.

She said Lake’s team, “misunderstands to think that by throwing out a host of numbers that that somehow provides a competent mathematical basis.”

Lake’s team is bringing in three “whistleblowers” working in the first level of signature verification to testify, as well as Maricopa County elections directors Scott Jarrett and Rey Valenzuela, as well as Supervisor Bill Gates.

Shelby Busch, director of We the People Arizona Alliance, who presented extended claims of misconduct in the Senate Elections Committee earlier this year, is also listed as a witness, as well as Erich Speckin, a forensic document analyst and ink dating specialist, to testify to signature verification process and time study.

Speckin previously ran a report in the 2020 election in Maricopa County, alleging anomalies in printing.

In a statement Maricopa County Board of Supervisors chair Clint Hickman said, “For three years, our signature verification process has been questioned and for three years we have presented evidence in court—and to voters—that showed it is thorough, legal, and always subject to bipartisan oversight.”

He continued, “I look forward to once again showing our work. We have nothing to hide. We are proud of our team, proud of our processes, and confident we will prevail in a courtroom where the facts matter above all else.”

Attorneys for Lake, Maricopa County, the Secretary of State and the governor are due in court Wednesday for a three-day trial.