Arizona judge hears arguments in Kari Lake election lawsuit, has yet to make decision on dismissal

If the lawsuit is not dismissed, then there will be a two-day hearing on Wednesday and Thursday.
Judge gavel

An Arizona judge heard oral arguments Monday in the case to dismiss 2022 GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake's election lawsuit but declined to make a decision.

Superior Court Judge of Maricopa County Peter Thompson is presiding over the case in which Lake is challenging the results of her gubernatorial bid against Governor-elect and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. In addition to Hobbs, the other defendants in the case are Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, the county Board of Supervisors, and county Director of Elections Scott Jarrett.

If the lawsuit is not dismissed, then there will be a two-day hearing on Wednesday and Thursday.

Lake alleges numerous issues in the administration of the 2022 general election in Maricopa County and that the results should be overturned.

During oral arguments on Monday, legal counsel for Hobbs pointed to a brief from Lake's counsel that stated she wasn't alleging that fraud occurred in the election, despite mentioning it occurred through third parties.

The lawyers argued that since the lawsuit is related to an election contest one of the requirements is that fraud must be alleged.

The other requirement, they argued, is that Lake and her team failed to show a sufficient number of illegal votes to affect the outcome.

Lake's lawyer, Kurt Olsen, said that the case is about county election officials and Hobbs "ignoring their own detailed procedures," such as testing on-demand printed ballots before the election to ensure they were functioning properly, and "systemic failure" of ballot tabulators on Election Day.

Olsen also said the election was decided by 17,000 votes, and there were 25,000 additional ballots found at Runbeck – the company the county uses for assistance with mail-in ballot counting – after Election Day and that at least 15,000 voters were disenfranchised on Election Day, according to survey data by pollster Richard Baris.

Olsen also recounted some of the information that had been collected about the election, including affidavits from whistleblowers at the county Tabulation and Election Center and Runbeck.

He discussed the signature verification process, alleging that reviewers had only about 25 seconds to review signatures, and additional ballots found at Runbeck.

The legal counsel for the defendants claimed that the affidavits of the signature verification reviewers were lower-level employees who didn't have as much access to information and resources as the higher-level reviewers, who were the ones rejecting ballots.

Tom Liddy, legal counsel for the county officials, also argued that the ballots counted at Runbeck weren't additional ballots, rather they were an exact number that came after the county's initial estimate.