On Wednesday, Kari Lake's lawyers argued that the court did not properly consider the evidentiary claim that 35,363 ballots were not accounted for in the final count in Maricopa County's 2022 midterm election. Per the April 5th filing in Lake's election integrity case, lead attorney Kurt Olsen reaffirms in the brief that there "was no record for delivery" to Runbeck of the "Election Day early ballots."
Olsen reasserts from earlier filings the "undisputed fact that 35,363 unaccounted[-]for ballots were added to the total of ballots at a third[-]party processing facility," referencing Runbeck. Wednesday's brief asks for reconsideration of the evidence and opposes the sanctions proposed by the Plaintiffs to the Arizona Supreme Court on March 22nd. The court asked both parties to brief on the issue of sanctions, hence the recent filing by Lake.
Lake won an important battle when on March 22nd, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Butinel agreed that signature verification laws and procedures were not followed in the election. The matter was remanded to the trial court for further consideration. Lake's team may therefore be granted a more fulsome review of how signatures were verified in the election.
Signature Verification Needs Further Review/Justice Butinel
Perhaps not coincidentally, Governor Hobbs vetoed HB2322 on April 6th, a bill that codified "minimum standards" for the signature verification process—the same standards Hobbs wrote into the 2020 Elections Procedure Manual to ensure that only lawful votes are counted. The bill passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support.
Hobbs also vetoed two other election integrity bills on Thursday, HB2415, and SB1074. HB2415 would "decrease[s] the number of consecutive election cycles in which a person may fail to vote an early ballot and remain on the AEVL from two election cycles to one election cycle." SB1074 would "prohibit[s] the use of electronic voting equipment as the primary method for tabulating votes in any city, town, county, state or federal election unless the outlined requirements are met and prescribes requirements relating to the source codes for electronic voting equipment."
According to the April 5th brief, Olsen argues sanctioning was unwarranted because Lake neither brought "a claim for an improper motive" nor brought issues to the court that cannot be supported "by any reasonable legal theory." According to this April filing, the respondents who sought sanctions never "attempted to show any evidence rebutting Lake's claims" regarding the ballots "for which Runbeck has no record of receiving."
Specifically, the math surrounding the "unaccounted-for" ballots refers to evidence presented in Lake's March 1st, 2023, appeal to the Arizona supreme court. Lake's team showed Runbeck recorded 263,379 inbound ballots and sent back to MCTEC 298,942—a difference of 35,563 ballots. Hobbs won by a tight margin— approximately 17,000 votes.
Lake Case/March 1st Appeal
In December, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ruled against Lake, saying she didn't have enough evidence to prove intentional misconduct by election officials. Ironically, while intentionality is not a requirement in election-related lawsuits, Clay Parikh, one of Lake's expert witnesses, seems to have proved that printing 19-inch ballots on 20-inch paper can only be understood as intentional given the evidence he reviewed. As reported by UncoverDC on April 3rd, Bob Hughes confirmed Parikh's findings. Hughes is an expert witness in Mark Finchem's election integrity lawsuit.
Notably, in November 2022, an election in Berlin was declared void for many of the same reasons argued in Lake's case. Due to the "organizational chaos" at the polls, the Berlin court ordered a new election because the election may have disenfranchised voters. Maricopa's November election shared many of the same "chaotic" and organizational problems, resulting in the apparent disenfranchisement of election-day voters. The Maricopa midterm election saw long lines, voters being turned away, election laws being violated, chain-of-custody being repeatedly broken, and significant problems with printing election-day ballots.