Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson issued a verdict Saturday ruling against the claims of GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s lawsuit challenging the election results of the Arizona governor’s race and accusing her Democratic opponent Katie Hobbs and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors of election misconduct.
In his ruling, Judge Thompson did not find any “clear and convincing” evidence of the two counts he was willing to consider in Lake’s ten-count filing: 1) that printer and tabulator malfunctions contributed to misconduct impacting the result of the election; and 2) ballot chain of custody violations were in violation of state law and that such misconduct impacted the results of the election.
The court’s ruling further ordered the “timely” confirmation of Hobbs as Arizona governor-elect on January 2.
The verdict comes on the heels of a fast-paced, two-day evidentiary trial held in Maricopa Superior Court to determine if the changes in printer settings and tabulator errors that occurred in roughly 59 percent of polling centers throughout Maricopa County — home to 60 percent of the state’s voters — on Election Day made it impossible for some voters to cast their ballots. The county says the “root cause” of the printer malfunctions is being investigated.
But as Lake’s attorney Kurt Olsen, pointed out: “Why are we doing a root cause analysis now if the modification had arisen in three prior elections? It doesn’t make sense.”
Judge Thompson’s ruling acknowledged the “anger and frustration” of voters who were “inconvenienced” in the election. He noted that setting aside the results “has never been done in the history of the United States,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“But this Court’s duty is not solely to incline an ear to public outcry,” the judge continued. “It is to subject Plaintiff’s claims and Defendants’ actions to the light of the courtroom and scrutiny of the law.”
Lake’s lawyers presented to the court hundreds of sworn affidavits as testimony to the chaos that ensued as a result of the printer/tabulator issues, which lasted in some polling centers from morning to evening. This created extraordinarily long lines and frustration among voters. They also provided reports from whistleblowers who swore under oath they witnessed chain of custody violations at Runbeck Election Services, the third-party company outsourced by Maricopa County to handle the counting of Election Day ballots.
A witness for Lake, Rich Baris, director of Big Poll Data, testified on Thursday that after more than six years of conducting exit voting polls, he had seen things in Arizona he had never seen before.
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