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Kari Lake loses election claim

Kari Lake lost her election contest when a judge found no evidence. She will appeal. Will Arizona ever again have fair elections?

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Arizona Governor candidate Kari Lake has lost this first court round in her battle to show fraud at the polls. A judge has said she has shown no misconduct, willful or otherwise, that even took place. She will now appeal the ruling, as she earlier said she would. Two questions come to mind: has she grounds for appeal, and can she find a court that cares?

The Kari Lake ruling – finding no evidence

Judge Peter Thompson handed down his judgment yesterday. The best reportage comes from The Hill and The Daily Caller. The latter embedded this tweet containing two images from the written judgment.

The two images address the two counts the judge had not already dismissed:

  • “Illegal” Ballot on Demand printer and tabulator configurations, that caused malfunctions and delays, and
  • Absence of a clear chain of custody of ballots.

With regard to each count, the court said the same thing. The court officially found no clear or convincing evidence of:

  • Any kind of misconduct,
  • Specific misconduct by officers of election or their supervisors,
  • An intent to affect the election outcome, or
  • Actual effect on the election outcome.

Kari Lake and her team might face sanctions. Maricopa County officials threatened to move for sanctions. So the court ordered the County to file a statement of costs by Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. MST. If they do not file by then, they have waived the costs. The court also ordered the county to file their motion by that time, if they will. If they do, Kari Lake must respond in writing by 5:00 p.m.

Katie Hobbs will take office on January 2, 2023. Kari Lake announced her intention to appeal.

Obviously the court knows this; hence its order that Maricopa County get their filings in by Monday morning.


Review of the case

CNAV has, of course, covered Days One and Two of the trial. The Daily Caller quoted The Washington Post for greater detail in the ten-page judgment. The Daily Caller made two key quotes:

This Court’s duty is not solely to incline an ear to public outcry. It is to subject Plaintiff’s claims and Defendants’ actions to the light of the courtroom and scrutiny of the law.

And also that overturning election results “has never been done in the history of the United States.” But that is in fact incorrect. Last spring a judge overturned a council election in Compton City, California, according to The Los Angeles Times. Whomever Judge Thompson tasked with finding precedent for overturning elections, missed that case – or did the judge even ask?

Yesterday the Kari Lake campaign summed up better their chief grounds for appeal.

Which is: those Ballot on Demand printers had suffered mis-configuration in three previous elections, but Maricopa County used them anyway. And they had exactly the same issues.

Of greater interest is what Arizona law requires. The judge asked Kari Lake to prove that Maricopa County deliberately acted to skew the outcome. But does the law require that? Perhaps not. Perhaps all it requires is a showing that widespread errors could have affected the outcome. That is something for the next-level court to determine.


What have Republicans done?

The Republican National Committee did nothing to help Kari Lake, with either her campaign or her election contests. But the Arizona Republican Party has already called for Ronna McDaniel, the RNC Chair, to resign. In fact they made that call more than two weeks ago. They cite her failure to have polling hours extended on Election Day, after the chaos became too obvious to ignore. They further cite her refusal to do anything further after a judge refused to extend polling hours.

The Kari Lake campaign has said little to nothing about Ronna McDaniel. But her allies have said, often, that Ronna McDaniel does not want any more officeholders like Kari Lake. She and others on the RNC would rather have their well-oiled patronage machine, even if they become a permanent minority.

The election contest now goes to appeal. Lake has said she would “go to the Supreme Court.” Presumably that’s the Arizona Supreme Court.

If a reversal does not happen, then Arizona will “go blue” forever – merely by getting “the right” people in place so they can disenfranchise as many opposing voters as they need. The obvious remedy for the next election is to go ahead, vote early – and even “harvest ballots.” (And show officials how to preserve a real chain of custody.) When that fails, people will have to move – or try interstate secession.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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