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Judge rules to not dismiss Kari Lake's request for access to ballot affidavit envelopes

Maricopa County now has to defend the claim that releasing the records would violate privacy interests or not be in the best interest of the state.

Published: June 30, 2023 10:20am

A Superior Court judge in Maricopa County ruled earlier this week not to dismiss former Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake's request for access to ballot affidavit envelopes.

Maricopa County argued the ballot affidavit signatures are part of the voter registration record and are deemed confidential by state law with some  exceptions, which Lake doesn't meet, according to county attorneys.

Judge John Hannah refuted the argument, citing that county recorders usually include ballot affidavit envelopes in voter registration records, but not because it is required by law.

The ruling can be read here: 

Hannah ruled Monday that the court is “not required to defer to the elections officials in how they have historically interpreted” the law.

He clarified that he had “no quarrel” with the interpretation, but said he did not agree with it.

“I am not convinced that the ballot affidavit is a voter registration record,” Hannah said, according to the Arizona Capitol Times. “It is a record from which the election officials derive information that becomes part of the voter registration record, but that doesn’t mean the ballot affidavit itself is a voter registration record.” 

Hannah said the parties would have to litigate under public records law, which means the county has to defend the claim that releasing the records would violate privacy interests or not be in the best interest of the state.

Since losing to current Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, Lake has contested the results of the 2022 election in court, arguing that thousands of Republican voters were disenfranchised on Election Day, when voting machine errors occurred in at least 60% of the voting centers in Maricopa County. She also pointed out major problems with the signature verification process for mail-in ballots.

Lake has vowed to take her election lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. 

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer last week announced he was suing Lake for defamation, claiming that she falsely accused him of sabotaging the 2022 midterm election by injecting 300,000 illegal ballots into the final vote tally in the county, the most populous in the state.

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