WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Jan. 10, Ryan L. Heath, a self-proclaimed “civil rights” lawyer for the Gavel Project (a nonprofit organization that proclaims to “directly challenge the proponents of ‘woke’ culture”), filed a petition for a writ of mandamus against Maricopa County, Arizona Judge Peter A. Thompson. The petition requests that the judge vacate (meaning void) his order dismissing failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s (R) election contest challenging Gov. Katie Hobbs’ (D) win. Heath requests that Thompson instead issue an order “removing Ms. Hobbs from the office of Arizona’s Governor—as she has no legitimate basis for holding this elected office,” thereby allowing Lake to become governor. Heath “fears that his vote in the general election was diluted by Maricopa County’s inclusion of illegal ballots” and “that his vote will continue to be diluted in future elections” absent court intervention.
The plaintiff alleges that Thompson and Lake’s attorneys “overlooked binding precedent requiring—as a matter of law—that the Maricopa County election be set aside based solely upon the facts admitted during the election challenge proceedings.” He further alleges that those tasked with signature verification for mail-in ballots (the process where election workers verify the signature on the voter’s affidavit with the voter’s signature in the voter registration database) are “inexperienced temporary workers” and that “Maricopa County employed an arbitrary screening system for verifying affidavit signatures that necessarily included illegal votes in the state-wide gubernatorial election for 2022.” He also argues that “Maricopa County apparently employed the same illegal process” during the 2020 election cycle, but he could not bring his claims at that time given that he “graduated from law school in 2020 and was not licensed to practice law until November of 2020.” He alleges that because of Maricopa County’s “tainted” election process, “illegal votes” were included in vote totals in violation of Arizona law. Heath alleges that “for each of the tens of thousands of mail-in ballot illegitimately accepted by Maricopa County” due to alleged signature matching ambiguity, “all qualified electors across the State of Arizona experienced some level of disenfranchisement” in violation of the Arizona Constitution and 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The plaintiff requests one of four alternatives: a reversal of the order entered in Lake v. Hobbs so that judgment is entered instead for Lake; that the Maricopa County results for governor are set aside and a winner is declared based “on the new totals of lawful votes cast throughout the remainder of Arizona;” that “all Maricopa County mail-in ballots cast in the 2022 general election with respect to the race for Arizona Governor” are set aside and the victor is declared based upon results excluding Maricopa County’s mail-in ballots or a special election is held to “redo the race for Governor.” Additionally, the plaintiff requests a “[m]andate that elections officials in Arizona seek to extend the time and resources available for signature verification to ensure such verification is constitutionally adequate to the task of verifying millions of signatures.” Despite the fact that Thompson already rejected Lake’s claims, stating that “the Court finds nothing to substantiate [Lake’s] claim of intentional misconduct,” and Hobbs has already taken office, Heath requests that the Arizona Supreme Court step in to order Thompson to “set aside” valid election results. This lawsuit is part of a growing trend of fringe lawsuits seeking to overturn valid election results that are rooted in conspiracies and the “Big Lie.”