Serving
Mohave County
July 2024
Volume 24 Issue 5
COMPLIMENTARY

Jul 2024 | Journal, July 2024 | 0 comments

Arizona Court of Appeals Denies Kari Lake’s Request for Election Do-Over

Journal, July 2024 | 0 comments

July 2024

PHOENIX — The Arizona Court of Appeals has rejected Kari Lake’s latest attempt to contest the 2022 gubernatorial election results, marking the sixth denial of her claims by Arizona courts. The decision, announced on June 12, 2024, upholds previous rulings and finds that Lake’s new evidence and claims are insufficient to alter the election outcome.
Lake, the Republican candidate who lost the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial race to Democrat Katie Hobbs by over 17,000 votes, has been pursuing legal challenges to the election results since her defeat. This latest ruling deals another blow to her ongoing efforts to overturn the election results.
The appellate court denied Lake’s request for a new trial and the presentation of new evidence, concluding that her claims did not meet the legal criteria for reopening the case. Judge Sean Brearcliffe, writing for the court, stated, “The rule does not provide relief for one who possesses documents at the time of an election contest but does not have the time, for whatever reason, to analyze them.”
Lake’s legal team had argued that a series of acts by Maricopa County officials, including unannounced tests on vote-counting equipment, led to long lines at polling places and discouraged many people, particularly Republicans, from voting. They also resurrected claims about improper signature verification on early ballots.
However, the court found these arguments unconvincing. Judge Brearcliffe noted that even if there was misconduct — which the court did not decide — Lake failed to show how it interfered with her ability to present her claims in court. The judges also pointed out that the vote differential between Lake and Hobbs was over 17,000 votes, making any potential discrepancies insufficient to change the election outcome.
One of Lake’s key claims involved the assertion that some ballots produced on Election Day at vote centers in Maricopa County were printed at the wrong size, potentially affecting 8,000 or more ballots. The court rejected this argument, stating that even if 8,000 uncounted votes had all gone to Lake, it would have been insufficient to overcome the vote differential.
The court also dismissed Lake’s claims about improper signature verification. While acknowledging that some questionable signatures may slip through in any election, the judges concluded that Lake did not show that the applicable signature verification procedures were not performed or that any potential issues affected an outcome-determinative number of votes.
This ruling is unlikely to be the last word in Lake’s legal battle. Her team has indicated plans to appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court and possibly file a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations. Lake, who is currently running to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, appears to be looking beyond state courts for resolution.
The persistent legal challenges by Lake highlight ongoing disputes over election integrity and procedures, even as courts consistently uphold the original election results. The case has drawn significant attention, both for its potential implications on election processes and for Lake’s continued prominence in Arizona politics.
In addition to her election challenges, Lake is facing other legal issues. A defamation case filed against her by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, based on her statements claiming he “sabotaged” the 2022 election, is ongoing. Lake agreed in March to have a default judgment entered against her, essentially admitting she defamed Richer. However, she claims this was a strategic move, forcing Richer to prove he was financially harmed.
The legal battles surrounding the 2022 election have had broader implications. Bryan Blehm, one of Lake’s attorneys, has been sanctioned and suspended for 60 days for making false statements in the case, including a baseless claim that nearly 36,000 ballots were illegally added to the results. The Arizona Supreme Court and a disciplinary panel found no evidence to support his statements.
Furthermore, the State Bar of Arizona is investigating two attorneys who represented Lake, focusing on their conduct during the election contest. These developments underscore the professional risks for lawyers involved in election challenges without substantial evidence.
As Lake continues her legal fight, the case raises important questions about the balance between ensuring election integrity and accepting the finality of election results. It also highlights the challenges faced by courts in addressing election disputes, particularly when claims of irregularities are not supported by evidence that would change the outcome.
The ongoing saga of Kari Lake’s election challenges serves as a reminder of the complex interplay between law, politics, and public perception in the aftermath of closely contested elections. As the case potentially moves to higher courts, it will likely continue to be a focal point in discussions about election security, voter confidence, and the role of the judiciary in resolving electoral disputes.
For now, the Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision stands as another affirmation of the 2022 election results, reinforcing the importance of substantial evidence in challenging election outcomes. As Lake and her team consider their next steps, the eyes of both legal experts and political observers remain fixed on this ongoing controversy in Arizona politics.
— Jeremy Webb

Arizona AG joins FTC and coalition of states to challenge merger of Kroger & Albertsons supermarkets

Attorney General Kris Mayes, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and a bipartisan coalition of states, today announced the filing of a lawsuit that challenges the proposed merger of Kroger and Albertsons. These companies are the country’s two largest national supermarket chains, and this merger presents a significant risk of reduced competition and higher food prices nationwide. In Arizona, the two chains are the fourth and sixth largest employers, with a combined 35,000 employees across 250 stores. The companies also operate under Fry’s, Smith’s, and Safeway brands in Arizona.

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