Trial over Kari Lake’s last challenge to loss in Arizona governor’s race enters 2nd day

PHOENIX (AP) — Kari Lake’s attorneys entered the second day of Thursday’s attempt to file the only remaining legal claim in her challenge to the Arizona gubernatorial race.

A judge in a suburb of Phoenix granted Mr. Lake a three-day trial to prove that county election officials failed to perform high-level signature verification on flagged mail ballots.

Maricopa County’s process of verifying signatures on thousands of ballots has failed and even some officials have questions, a county attorney argued in court Wednesday.

Mr. Lake’s lawyers spent most of the first day of the trial showing videos and getting testimony from two previous signing judges who claimed election officials were overwhelmed.

Only one of her claims has yet to be dismissed in her lawsuit. half a year of her loss Before Democrat Katie Hobbs.

Kurt Olsen, one of Mr. Lake’s lawyers, said there was “no way to consider signatures on the proceedings.”

The former TV anchor was one of the most vocal propagandists of last year’s Republican nominees for ex-President Donald Trump’s election lies, and made it a campaign centerpiece.

Mr. Lake sat in the back of the courtroom listening to the proceedings but did not speak. She left two hours after the hearing began.

Most of the other election naysayers across the country conceded after losing the November campaign, but Mr. Lake did not. She lost to Hobbes by more than 17,000 votes.

The court dismissed most of her cases, Arizona Supreme Court Reinstates One Claim The issue challenges the implementation of signature verification procedures for early voting in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of the state’s voters.

Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson said: Judgment Monday Lake alleges that Maricopa County officials failed to verify higher-level signatures on mail-in ballots that were identified as inconsistent by lower-level inspectors.

In a subsequent decision, Thompson said Lake also objected to signature verification by lower-level auditors.

The video footage shown by Lake’s legal team was from a Maricopa County camera feed and allegedly shows signatures that were hastily and incorrectly verified by officials.

Maricopa County Election Commissioner Reynaldo “Ray” Valenzuela testified that temporary workers were reassigned to other locations simply because they did not understand the technical skills required for the job. Signature verifiers are also randomly audited.

“We review them for consistency,” Valenzuela said. “Did someone do all the good[signing]or all the bad, was there some kind of contradiction?”

Lower-level officials also testified that higher-level signature judges were overwhelmed and turned away affidavit envelopes for ballots they considered suspicious.

Three lower-level signature verification officials who filed forms with the court on Mr. Lake’s behalf said they experienced rejection rates due to mismatched signatures on 15% to 40% of the ballots they encountered.

Attorneys for the Arizona Elections Authority said officials’ speculation about the signature verification process did not constitute a violation of the law or election official misconduct, and they did not know the specific ballot results flagged by three officials. questioned whether it was possible.

Mr. Lake does not contest whether the voter’s signature on the ballot envelope matches the signature on the ballot record.

In a judgment Monday night, Thompson declined to dismiss Lake’s claims.

Lake faces the high hurdle of proving not only her claims about the signature verification effort, but that it influenced her election results.

County officials said they had nothing to hide and were confident they would win in court.

Mr. Lake’s attorneys argue that Maricopa County was flooded with mail-in ballots at a time when there were too few officials to verify signatures on ballots. Her attorneys said the county finally accepted thousands of ballots that had previously been rejected by workers for inconsistent signatures.

By reinstating the claim, the Arizona Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision that found Lake took too long to file his claim.

At the beginning of the lawsuit, Mr. Lake focused on problems with ballot machines at some polling places in Maricopa County. Ballots produced by faulty printers were too thin to be read by on-site counters at polling stations. Amidst the chaos, lines were jammed in some areas. Lake argued that the ballot problem was the result of deliberate fraud.

County officials said those affected by the press were taken to a more sophisticated counter at election headquarters so everyone had a chance to vote and all ballots were tallied.

In mid-February Arizona Court of Appeals Dismisses Lake’s ClaimIt concluded that there was no evidence that voters whose ballots could not be read by poll workers could not vote.

The next month, the state Supreme Court refused to hear nearly all of Lake’s appeals, saying there was no evidence to support her claim that more than 35,000 votes were added to the ballot total.

Earlier this month, the court Fined Lake’s lawyer $2,000 For falsely alleging that more than 35,000 ballots were improperly added to the total.

The trial will be the second in Lake’s election challenge.

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