A judge heard closing arguments from counsel for failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, as well as Maricopa County, the Secretary of State and the governor on the signature verification count remanded by the Arizona Supreme Court.
Attorneys for Lake today in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa argued there were about 274,000 signatures the county verified in less than three seconds, which they assert does not constitute signature verification as required by state statute and provides a “competent mathematical basis” as the governor’s race was decided by about 17,000 votes.
The defendants, though, cited Lake’s own signature verification “whistleblower” witnesses who testified to verifying and curing signatures and said they provided “pretty good evidence that Maricopa County did signature verification.”
The county rested its case in Lake’s second election contest trial after a final round of testimony from Elections Director Rey Valenzuela today.
Thomas Liddy, Civil Division Chief with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, asked Valenzuela to talk in further detail about the curing process for signature review.
Valenzuela spoke about instances in which ballots would be registered as having good signatures in “zero” seconds.
He said this could happen during in-person early voting when voters provide proof of identity and, therefore, do not go through the formal signature verification process. And, he noted, Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) voters, or overseas military voters, would have their ballots mass approved and verified in zero seconds.
The county also again addressed a video cited by Lake’s team of a verifier rapidly clicking through signatures.
Liddy had Valenzuela confirm he was only inferring in testimony yesterday that the verifier could have been re-reviewing his batch or passing through pre-approved signatures. Lake’s attorney Bryan Blehm objected to the line of questioning as he was only speculating about the nature of the video.
But Judge Peter Thompson pointed out “the other witnesses that have testified about that same exhibit have done likewise.”
During cross examination, Blehm attempted to discredit Valenzuela’s data analysis skills. Blehm asked him who helped him with data analysis, what standard deviation was and the difference between a percentage and an average, which defense counsel pointed out can be the same thing.
Blehm also had Valenzuela look at a table by Erich Speckin, the expert witness for Lake, and asked him where the averages were – and then said there were no averages on the table.
In closing arguments, Olsen claimed mail-in ballots to be the largest source of potential voter fraud and the “majority of people do not have trust in elections,” because “election officials do not follow the law.”
He then turned to the 274,000 ballots he alleges were verified in less than three seconds and the 70,000 verified in less than two seconds.
Arizona law requires signatures be “compared,” and Lake’s attorney Kurt Olsen argued workers “speed-demoning through and verifying signatures at 99.9, 99.7% pass rates” in a matter of seconds did not constitute an adequate comparison.
He then referenced testimony from Speckin and said the county never disputed his evidence.
Liddy, giving closing arguments for the county, said the county did dispute Speckin’s findings and objected to the table when it was first brought in as evidence.
Liddy then referenced Lake’s signature verification worker witnesses as evidence the county did in fact conduct signature verification at multiple levels.
Attorneys for the governor and the Secretary of State added Lake always intended to challenge the election if she did not win and the most recent claim was “quite possibly the most absurd yet.”
Thompson took the matter under advisement.