9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Kari Lake and Mark Finchem’s Voting Machines Lawsuit

Washington, D.C. — On Monday, Oct. 16, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by current U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake (R) and failed secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem (R) that challenged the use of electronic voting machines in Arizona and sought to ban them in the 2022 midterm elections. 

Kari Lake speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, Saturday, March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Kari Lake speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, Saturday, March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In their lawsuit, Lake and Finchem alleged that Arizona’s use of electronic voting machines violated their right to vote under the U.S. Constitution and Arizona law because the machines are “inherently vulnerable” to cyberattacks and voter fraud and could not be relied on to yield objective and accurate vote tallies. 

Their arguments were based  on meritless claims of rampant fraud throughout the 2020 election and centered on the use of Dominion voting machines, a major focal point of “Big Lie” proponents following the 2020 election. Lake and Finchem argued that because electronic voting machines “created unjustified new risks of hacking, election tampering, and electronic voting fraud,” every vote should instead be counted by hand, which would take approximately 93 days according to Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer

In August 2022, the district court promptly rejected this conspiratorial lawsuit holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the lawsuit and that their claims are “vague,” “speculative” and ultimately amount to “conjectural allegations.” Additionally, the judge declared that the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ suit was further warranted under the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which restricts individuals from bringing lawsuits against states in federal court. 

Today, the 9th Circuit held that the district court was correct to dismiss the lawsuit, holding: “In the end, none of Plaintiffs’ allegations supports a plausible inference that their individual votes in future elections will be adversely affected by the use of electronic tabulation, particularly given the robust safeguards in Arizona law, the use of paper ballots, and the post-tabulation retention of those ballots. The district court correctly dismissed the operative complaint…” 

Lake and Finchem have become increasingly familiar with losing. In August 2022, the district court dismissed their lawsuit and in December 2022, the court sanctioned Lake and Finchem for their actions in this lawsuit, after finding that the plaintiffs “made false, misleading, and unsupported factual assertions.” Voters similarly rejected Lake and Finchem’s election denying platforms as they both lost their 2022 races for governor and secretary of state, respectively. When Lake and Finchem challenged their losses in court, courts rejected their claims time and time again. Finchem finally dismissed his election contest in July of this year, but Lake is still fighting her gubernatorial election contest and has simultaneously moved on to yet another grift, a run for U.S. Senate. 

Today marks the end of the road in Lake and Finchem’s voting machines lawsuit, but even after defeat in both federal and state court, Lake is bringing her election denialism and far-right policies to yet another race, this time for the U.S. Senate. Arizona voters will once again be tasked with rejecting Lake’s election denialism in 2024. 

Read the opinion here.

Learn more about the case here.

Learn more about accountability after the 2022 elections for Arizona election deniers here.