PHOENIX (AP) — Kari Lake, the Republican defeated in the Arizona gubernatorial race, is officially challenging her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs, asking a court to throw out the most populous county’s certified election results of the state and declare her a winner or re-run the gubernatorial election in that county.
The lawsuit filed Friday night by Lake relates to the long lines and other difficulties people faced while voting on Election Day in Maricopa County. The challenge filed in Maricopa County Superior Court also alleges that hundreds of thousands of ballots were cast illegally, but there is no evidence that this is true.
Lake refused to acknowledge that she lost to Hobbs by over 17,000 votes.
The Donald Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate has bombarded Maricopa County with complaints, largely related to a problem with printers at some voting centers that led to ballots being printed with marks that were too light to be read by the tabulators on site.
Lines piled up at some polling places, fueling Republican suspicions that some supporters were unable to vote, although there was no evidence it affected the outcome. County officials say everyone was able to vote and all legal ballots were counted.
Lake sued Maricopa County officials and Hobbs in his current role as Arizona secretary of state.
Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, said Lake’s lawsuit is being reviewed but had no further comment on the case.
Jason Berry, a Maricopa County spokesman, declined to comment on Lake’s request to overturn the county’s election results in the gubernatorial race. But he said the county “respects the process of the electoral contest and looks forward to sharing facts about the administration of the 2022 general election and our work to ensure every legal voter has the opportunity to vote.”
Hobbs in a post on his Twitter account called the lawsuit “Lake’s last desperate attempt to undermine our democracy and thwart the will of voters.” She released a statement from her campaign manager who called the lawsuit a “sham” and said her camp remained focused on “preparing to kick off day one of Katie Hobbs’ administration.”
Lake’s lawsuit says Republicans were disproportionately affected by Maricopa County’s problems because they beat Democrats on Election Day 3-1. GOP leaders had urged their voters to wait until Election Day to vote.
In late November, Lake filed a lawsuit in the public records demanding that Maricopa County turn over election-related documents. She sought to identify voters who might have had difficulty casting their ballots, such as people who registered at multiple voting centers or those who returned an absentee ballot and also registered at a polling station.
Over the summer, a federal judge also denied a request by Lake and Mark Finchem, the defeated Republican candidate for secretary of state, to require the manual counting of all ballots in the November election. .
The judge has since sanctioned the lawyers representing Lake and Finchem, saying they “made false, misleading and unsubstantiated factual assertions” in their lawsuit. The lawyers told the court that their claims were “legally founded and supported by solid evidence”.
Hobbs, in his role as secretary of state, asked a court to begin an automatic statewide recount required by law in three races decided by less than half a percentage point.
The race for attorney general was one of the tightest contests in state history, with Democrat Kris Mayes leading Republican Abe Hamadeh by just 510 votes out of 2.5 million voters.
Races for superintendent of public instruction and a state legislative seat in suburban Phoenix will also be recounted, but the margins are much larger.