Saturday, December 24, 2022

Holidaze Week: Lake Woe? Be Gone!

Kari Lake just lost her ridiculous "voting fraud" case in Arizona, and she gets nothing but coal (and hopefully crushing legal and financial sanctions) for Christmas.

An Arizona judge on Saturday rebuffed an effort by Kari Lake, the defeated GOP candidate for governor in Arizona, to reverse the outcome of her November election, ruling against her after a two-day trial that showcased speculation about systematic malfeasance at the polls but failed to prove it.

The finding was in line with recent judgments against Abe Hamadeh and Mark Finchem, the unsuccessful candidates for attorney general and secretary of state, respectively, who also sought to challenge their losses. Taken together, the rulings show how the judiciary in Arizona, a state rife with distrust in the democratic process, rejected challenges to election results and affirmed the will of voters.

Lake, a former television news anchor and acolyte of former president Donald Trump, lost the Nov. 8 election by more than 17,000 votes. After making election denialism a centerpiece of her campaign, she refused to concede, even after the result was certified on Dec. 5. Days later, she sued her opponent, Democrat Katie Hobbs, as well as officials in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and more than half the state’s voters.

Lake’s complaint, which asked that she be declared the winner, centered on problems with printers in Maricopa County. Those problems required some voters to wait in line, travel to another polling place or deposit their ballots in secure drawers for tabulation at a central location. County officials have said the problems resulted from insufficient printer heat settings. They also acknowledged at trial that “shrink-to-fit” settings at several voting locations caused ballots to be rejected, though they were all duplicated and ultimately counted. A deeper analysis is still underway, they testified.

A judge found on Election Day that the mechanical issues did not prevent anyone from voting. But in a 69-page filing, attorneys for Lake used a grab bag of unproven assertions and anecdotal accounts to argue that “hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected the election in Maricopa County.”

The claims reached far beyond the administration of voting to include conspiratorial allegations about efforts to combat election misinformation, which the filing deemed an “unconstitutional government censorship operation,” as well as evidence from the 2020 election.

The judge hearing Lake’s case, Peter A. Thompson of Maricopa County Superior Court, earlier tossed most of her assertions but allowed arguments to proceed on two claims — that employees at Maricopa County’s ballot contractor stuffed extra ballots into the system and that the printer problems on Election Day were intentional.

In Saturday’s 10-page ruling, Thompson said the court “acknowledges the anger and frustration of voters who were subjected to inconvenience and confusion at voter centers as technical problems arose during the 2022 general election.”

“But this Court’s duty is not solely to incline an ear to public outcry,” he wrote. “It is to subject plaintiff’s claims and defendants’ actions to the light of the courtroom and scrutiny of the law.”
Katie Hobbs' defense team was not nearly as sanguine.

A lawyer for Hobbs told the court that Lake’s lawsuit represents what is “rotten in Arizona.”

“For the past several years, our democracy and its basic guiding principles have been under sustained assault from candidates who just cannot or will not accept the fact that they lost,” said the lawyer, Abha Khanna. “The judiciary has served as a bulwark against these efforts to undo our democratic system from within, and we ask this court to assume that role once again.”

In a closing statement, Khanna said, “Kari Lake lost this election and must lose this election contest. The reason she lost is not because of a printer error, not because of missing paperwork, not because the election was rigged against her, and certainly not for a lack of a full opportunity to prove her claims in a court of law.”

“Kari Lake lost the election because, at the end of the day, she received fewer votes than Katie Hobbs,” Khanna added.
Sadly, I don't think we've seen the last of Kari Lake. I think she's going to lose her bolts and come apart, right up until the Arizona State Capitol Police decide to detain her for threats made on the life of Hobbs. 

On the other hand, Arizona Republicans, narrowly controlling the state legislature, can certainly try to make Hobbs' life miserable. We'll see if this Lake drowns in her own misery.




Holidaze Week Begins

OK folks, we're hibernating until 2023 with limited posting.

As usual, I'll have my prediction scorecard for 2022 graded, and I'll make my 2023 predictions on December 31.

Have a good holiday season!

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