Arizona judge approves Lake request to examine ballots

The inspection is slated to begin at 8:00 a.m. next Tuesday.

Published: December 16, 2022 3:24pm

Updated: December 16, 2022 3:49pm

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has approved Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake's request to have ballots inspected as she prepares for trial in her ongoing challenge to the state's gubernatorial contest.

Judge Peter Thompson on Thursday issued the ruling, which allows the inspection of random ballots in the county ahead of the trial date. The Republican had previously filed a request to do so and Arizona law provides for a candidate challenging election results to demand ballot inspections to prepare. The ruling became public on Friday.

Thompson granted three of Lake's four demands, allowing the inspection of 50 random "ballot-on-demand" printed ballots, 50 random early ballots, and 50 random BOD ballots marked spoiled. The judge denied her bid to inspect 50 random early ballot envelopes.

All parties involved were granted until 12:00 p.m. on "Friday, December 15, 2022" to submit their choice of ballot inspector to the court. Court documents appear to have erroneously stated the date, as Friday is the 16th of December.

The inspection is slated to begin at 8:00 a.m. next Tuesday and must be conducted in a manner so as not to interfere with ongoing recount efforts and avoid compromising ballot integrity, per the order.

An campaign account for Lake celebrated the ruling on Twitter, saying "Our lawsuit isn't based on conspiracy or wild speculation. We have laid out a very clear theory about statutory violations and a broken chain of custody. These ballots deserve close scrutiny and we're delighted we have been granted it."

Lake received former President Donald Trump's endorsement earlier this year, after which she surged to win the Republican nomination, but narrowly lost the general election to Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Lake has since contended that election problems in Maricopa County and other municipalities turned away voters and cost her the race.

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