A two-day trial was set to begin Wednesday in which Kari Lake (R), the losing gubernatorial candidate in Arizona’s midterm elections, would argue as she has for weeks that her loss by 17,000 votes was illegitimate.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson said Lake must prove that not only did misconduct occur during the election, but that misconduct was intended to deny her a victory and that it resulted in the wrong person—Katie Hobbs (D)—being elected Arizona’s next governor.
There would be no jury in Lake’s trial. Thompson would make the ruling on evidence presented, which the losing side would likely appeal to the Arizona to Supreme Court.
Lawyers for Governor-elect Hobbs say the trial is set to be a spectacle and an opportunity for Lake to spread outlandish theories about election misconduct.
Ahead of the trial Thompson had already dismissed eight of 10 claims Lake had raised in her lawsuit, including an allegation that Hobbs, currently Arizona’s Secretary of State, and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer engaged in censorship by flagging social media posts with election misinformation for possible removal by Twitter. He also dismissed claims that mail-in voting procedures were illegal.
Lake will likely focus on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of Arizona’s voters. The defective printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by the on-site tabulators at polling places. Lines backed up in some areas amid the confusion on Election Day.
Affected ballots were taken to the more sophisticated counters at the elections department headquarters in downtown Phoenix, and Maricopa election officials have stressed that all ballots were counted and that voters could go to any polling place in the county on Election Day, many of which had little or no line with wait times posted online.
Lake, a former television news anchor, was one of the most prominent of the Republican party’s 291 election deniers—those who denied or questioned the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election—who ran for key offices in the 2022 midterm elections across the country.