Arizona Judge Dismisses Majority of Kari Lake’s Claims in Gubernatorial Election Contest

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Dec. 19, an Arizona judge rejected eight out of 10 claims in an election contest brought by the failed Republican candidate for Arizona governor and election denier Kari Lake against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), the Maricopa County recorder, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Maricopa County director of elections. The complaint alleges that illegal votes were cast in Arizona’s Nov. 8, 2022 midterm elections and states that the “tabulators’ rejection of thousands of ballots set off a domino chain of electoral improprieties.” The complaint also alleges that Maricopa County ballot printers and tabulator “failures” created “chaos” on Election Day. Lake claims that she is “entitled to an order vacating Maricopa County’s canvass and Arizona’s certification of the results of the 2022 election” and that the 2022 election should be re-run within Maricopa County or that she should be declared the winner. 

After holding oral argument on motions to dismiss Lake’s claims, a judge dismissed eight out of 10 claims raised by Lake. 

First, Lake claimed that election officials violated the First Amendment by “censoring” election misinformation. Monday’s order rejected this claim in its totality: “even viewing the allegations in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, she has not stated a claim.” Lake also argued that “the signature validation methodology utilized by Maricopa County did not comply with” state law. The judge rejected this claim, holding that Lake raised this allegation too late and under circumstances that are “not justifiable.” Next, Lake claimed that she suffered “intentional discrimination” in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Arizona or U.S. Constitutions. The judge wrote that Lake “has trouble even at this stage drawing a through-line from purported discrimination to well-pled impact” and, as a result, the claim should be dismissed. Lake then argued that Arizona’s system of mail-in voting — which has been in place since 1991 — violates the secrecy provision of the Arizona Constitution (the same argument the Arizona Republican Party is making in a separate lawsuit in an attempt to ban mail-in voting in the state). The judge dismissed this claim in its totality, explaining that Lake raised it with an “unreasonable delay.” Lastly, Lake argued that the election was incorrectly certified, she was inappropriately barred from bringing federal claims in her election contest and Maricopa County’s alleged actions “may have violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The judge dismissed these claims. 

A much narrower version of the two remaining claims will go to trial on Dec. 21-22. The judge declined to reject Lake’s claim regarding ballot-on-demand (BOD) printers, but did narrow the scope of the claim by stating the Lake will have to prove that “a person employed by Maricopa County interfered with BOD printers in violation of Arizona law, resulting in some number of lost votes for Plaintiff” in order to succeed. The judge also declined to toss out Lake’s argument that Maricopa County’s ballot contractor was allowed “to add ballots of family members” and that ballots were mishandled, but stated that Lake will have to show that “a person under control of Maricopa County…affected the canvass.” Over the course of the two-day trial, a judge will hear from witnesses and be presented with evidence pertaining to Lake’s two remaining claims. 

Read the order here.

Learn more about the case here.