Failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake saw her last attempt to overturn the 2022 election rejected as a judge dismissed the final count in her election contest.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson dismissed Lake’s signature verification claim again, finding the county did in fact conduct signature verification and Lake’s evidence and arguments to try to prove contrary “do not clear the bar.”
Attorneys for Lake, Maricopa County, the governor and the Secretary of State spent three days in court last week after the Arizona Supreme Court remanded a single count from Lake’s initial contest claiming deficiencies in signature verification.
Lake’s signature verification claim was initially dismissed by Thompson as he ruled it to be a challenge to the process which is barred by laches.
Thompson did not dismiss the count outright, as the defendants had asked. But in his ruling, he required Lake provide “clear and convincing evidence” signature verification was not conducted in accordance with state law or the elections procedures manual and provide a “competent mathematical basis” to show the race should have tipped in her favor.
Counsel for Lake argued 274,000 signatures were verified in less than three seconds, and of those 70,000 were verified in less than one second, which they claimed did not constitute signature verification at all.
In trial last week, they zeroed in on the word “compare” in statute and said the timeframe would not allow for comparison.
Thompson rejected Lake’s attorneys singling out of the word “compare” and noted no time constraint standards for signature comparison exist in the statute, “not one second, not three second, not six seconds.”
He wrote, “accepting that argument would require the Court re-write not only the EPM but Arizona law to insert a minimum time for signature verification and specify the variable to be considered in the process.”
Thompson found Lake’s own “whistleblower” witnesses working in signature verification proved signature verification took place. But he noted testimony from elections director Rey Valenzuela proved to be “most helpful to the Court, and the most credible.”
Thompson found that Valenzuela testified, “the human element of signature review consisted of 153 level one reviewers, 43 level two reviewers, and two ongoing audits. This evidence is, in its own right, clear indicia that the comparative process was undertaken in compliance with statute.”
Thompson again confirmed the election of now Gov. Katie Hobbs, finding the county did not violate statute and Lake did not provide clear or convincing evidence that the election result was impacted.
Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Clint Hickman released a statement on the ruling.
“Wild claims of rigged elections may generate media attention and fundraising pleas, but they do not win court cases,” Hickman said. “When ‘bombshells’ and ‘smoking guns’ are not backed up by facts, they fail in court.”g