Kari Lake loses last claim in Arizona election challenge

An Arizona judge has dismissed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s only remaining legal claim in her lawsuit challenging her loss to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs in the 2022 election. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson said Lake did not provide evidence that the signature review process for mail-in ballots in Maricopa County was tainted by misconduct. Lake, a Trump-backed former TV journalist, lost the election to Hobbs by roughly 17,000 votes and sued claiming ballot printers in the county were inaccurate and signatures on mail-in ballots were not properly reviewed as required by state law. She has earned a significant following with Trump supporters and is openly considering a bid for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Kyrsten Sinema, a former Democrat now Independent. Lake has also been rumored to be under consideration by former President Trump as a potential running mate for the 2024 presidential election. In February, the Arizona Court of Appeals denied Lake’s request to throw out ballots and overturn the results of the 2022 election. The Arizona Supreme Court later declined to hear nearly all of Lake’s appeal, saying there was no evidence to support her claim that more than 35,000 ballots were added to vote totals. AZ SUPREME COURT DENIES MOST BUT NOT ALL OF KARI LAKE’S CLAIMS CHALLENGING THE ELECTION VERIFICATION PROCESS However, the state Supreme Court revived a claim that questioned the signature verification process for early ballots in Maricopa County, which is home to more than 60% of the state’s voters. County officials had defended the signature verification efforts and said they had nothing to hide. At a three-day trial, Lake’s attorneys called witnesses who said that signature verification at lower levels was done hastily and not thoroughly and that higher-level reviewers neglected to address inconsistencies. Lake’s legal team argued that approximately 70,000 ballot signatures were reviewed for less than one second, which they contended was so deficient for signature comparison that it amounted to no verification at all. TRUMP CONSIDERING KARI LAKE FOR 2024 RUNNING MATE: REPORT However, Thompson rejected that argument, writing that to side with Lake the court would have to “re-write” Arizona election law “to insert a minimum time for signature verification and specify variables to be considered in the process.”  “The Court finds that looking at signatures that, by and large, have consistent characteristics will require only a cursory examination and thus take very little time,” Thompson said.  ARIZONA GOP SENATE LEADER SAYS KARI LAKE’S EXPECTED US SENATE ANNOUNCEMENT WON’T DETER HIM FROM RUNNING “The question after the comparison is whether the signatures are consistent to the satisfaction of the recorder, or his designee. This, not the satisfaction of the Court, the satisfaction of a challenger, or the satisfaction of any other reviewing authority is the determinative quality for whether signature verification occurred,” the judge ruled. “It would be a violation of the constitutional separation of powers … for this Court, after the recorder has made a comparison to insert itself into the process and reweigh whether a signature is consistent or inconsistent.”  Thompson concluded that Lake did not provide sufficient evidence that the signature verification process in Maricopa County violated the law.  Lake did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  Fox News’ Aubrie Spady and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 
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