AZ Supreme Court orders hearing on Kari Lake's signature verification issue, denies attorney fees
The Arizona Supreme Court had originally remanded Kari Lake's case to the trial court in March.
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On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court ordered court proceedings to take place "forthwith" regarding Kari Lake's election challenge on Maricopa County's alleged violations of its signature verification practices in last year's general election, while granting one sanction but denying attorneys' fees requested by the defendants.
Lake, the Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee, fell about 17,000 votes short in the 2022 election against then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She is suing Hobbs, who is the current Democratic governor, in addition to current Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and Maricopa County election officials, and is requesting that the election results be invalidated or that she be declared the winner.
Lake's case was reviewed by the Arizona Supreme Court in March, which remanded one of her seven counts to trial court and allowed sanctions against her to be considered. The remanded count was Lake's claim that Maricopa County violated its signature verification policies in the 2022 election.
The signature verification allegation was remanded to the Maricopa County Superior Court, which was waiting on the high court to determine if she must pay sanctions to Hobbs and Fontes regarding her claim of 35,563 unaccounted early ballots being added to Maricopa County's final tally.
On Thursday, the state Supreme Court granted the defendants' request of $2,000 in sanctions against Lake's counsel for "asserting 'the undisputed fact that 35,563 unaccounted for ballots were added to the total number of ballots,' and for repeating such false assertions in an additional filing in this proceeding," according to the ruling.
The defendants were denied their requests for attorneys' fees as sanctions. The court also ordered "that the trial court shall forthwith conduct such proceedings as appropriate to resolve" the allegations regarding signature verification.
Rasmussen Reports tweeted an update, saying, "Apparently upwards of 300,000 mail ballots in Maricopa County Arizona will now be checked for missing or mismatched signature issues in a race that has captured international attention and is divided by less than 15,000 'votes.' Waiting to see the actual court order."