A judge on Monday affirmed the election of Democrat Katie Hobbs, rejecting the only remaining legal claim in her challenge to Republican Kari Lake’s defeat in last year’s race for Arizona governor.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson said Lake had failed to prove her claim that Maricopa County did not verify signatures on mail ballots as required by law.
Lake was the most vocal of last year’s Republican candidates promoting former President Donald Trump’s election lie, which he made a centerpiece of his campaign. She has built a loyal following among Trump supporters and is openly considering a run for the US Senate seat held by Kirsten Sinema, an independent and former Democrat. Lake is also frequently mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential running mate for Trump.
While most other election denialists around the country accepted after losing their race in November, Lake did not. She has touted her legal battle in fundraising appeals and speeches across the country.
Lake had no immediate comment on the decision.
she later sued lost to Hobbs by about 17,000 votes, asking the courts to install him as governor or order new elections. Thompson dismissed the case, but the Arizona Supreme Court revived a claim that challenges how the signature verification procedures were used On early ballots in Maricopa County, home to over 60% of the state’s voters. County officials had defended the signature verification efforts, saying they had nothing to hide.
Lake’s signature verification claim was the subject of a three-day trial. His lawyers argued that there was evidence that lower-level screeners who found discrepancies in signatures carried them up the chain of command, where they were ignored by higher-level verifiers.
Lake’s attorneys also argued that approximately 274,000 signatures were compared within two seconds, but Thompson ruled that the timing was irrelevant.
“Section 16-550 does not appear to have such a baseline,” Thompson wrote in the ruling, obtained by a CBS affiliate KPHO-TV, “Not one second, not three seconds, and not six seconds: no standard appears in the plain text of the statute. A reviewer is not required by statute or EPM to spend a specific length of time on a particular signature. “
Thompson also stated, “The Court finds that to look at the signatures, by and large, consistent features would require only a cursory examination and would thus take very little time.”
“There is no statutory or regulatory requirement that a specific time be applied to the review of a given signature at any stage of review,” he added.
Lake did not contest whether voters’ signatures on ballot envelopes matched those on their voting records.
The former TV anchor faced a high bar in proving not only his allegation over the signature verification attempts, but also that it affected his race results.
Thompson, who was appointed to the bench by former Republican Gov. Jane Brewer, said she doesn’t meet that high bar.
“The evidence found by the Court does not support the remainder of Plaintiff’s claim,” he wrote.
Earlier in his lawsuit, Lake focused on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County. Defective printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by on-site tabulators at polling places. Lines were backed up in some areas amid the confusion. Lake called the alleged ballot printer problems the result of intentional misconduct.
County officials say everyone had a chance to vote and all ballots were counted as those affected by the printer were moved to more sophisticated counters at election headquarters.
In mid-February, the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected Lake’s claims, concluding that he presented no evidence that voters whose ballots were unreadable by tabulators at polling places were unable to vote.
The next month, the state Supreme Court refused to hear nearly all of Lake’s appeals, saying there was no evidence to support his claim that more than 35,000 ballots had been added to the total.
Earlier this month, the court approved Lake’s attorneys $2,000 for perjury, saying that more than 35,000 ballots were erroneously added to the total count.