At her two-day trial contesting her defeat to Katie Hobbs of the Democrat Party in the Arizona governor's race, Kari Lake of the Republican Party didn't provide evidence to support her accusations of widespread, purposeful misbehavior on Election Day, state attorneys said on Thursday.
Abha Khanna, an attorney for Hobbs, who eventually won the race by just over 17,000 votes, said that Lake also failed to prove her allegation that purposeful printer issues at Maricopa County polling stations affected the result of the election.
Hobbs won the election by just over 17,000 votes. Khanna said during the trial's final statements on Thursday that Lake's assertions were based on hearsay, conjecture, and theatricals.
"Instead, we were given plot gaps and unraveled strands. Now that we are aware, we can conclude that her tale was made up,” Khanna added.
One of Lake's lawyers, Kurt Olsen, said that authorities made an effort to minimize the consequences of the printing issues in Maricopa County. “It all comes down to trust and honor,” Olsen added. “It's about earning back people's faith. Nobody viewing this stuff right now isn't shaking their head in disbelief.”
Former Governor Jan Brewer's choice, Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson, did not specify when he would give a decision.
Lake has a very difficult time winning her challenge since she has to demonstrate not only that there was misbehavior, but also that it was done to prevent her from winning and caused others to be named the winner.
After the hearings, Lake claimed that her lawyers had established their case.
Lake said, "We demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that there was malevolent intent that produced so enormous disruption that it impacted the outcome of the election. "We offered professional testimony. We sent professionals. To attempt to maintain their composure, the other side brought in activists. They acknowledged knowing about the issues with the ballots.”
In Maricopa County, where more than 60% of voters cast ballots, her attorneys concentrated on issues with the ballot printers at several polling stations.
The faulty printers created ballots that were too faint for polling place on-site tabulators to read. In several places, lines were held up due to uncertainty.
“All votes were tallied,” according to county authorities, “who also noted that ballots damaged by printing problems were transferred to more sophisticated counters at the headquarters of the elections department.”
Additionally, Lake's lawyers claim that a contractor who scans postal votes to get them ready for processing at an off-site location violated the chain of custody for the ballots. The county contests such an assertion.
Lake is requesting a re-vote in Maricopa County, or for the court to pronounce her the winner.
Her defenders cited a witness who checked ballots for her campaign and found 14 votes with 19-inch pictures printed on 20-inch paper, making it impossible for a tabulator to see them. Elections authorities questioned the witness's assertion that someone modified the printer setups.
According to county authorities, a tech staffer who was seeking answers to problems on Election Day used the shrink-to-fit function on a printer, which caused the ballot pictures to be somewhat smaller. By activating the function, they claim that roughly 1,200 votes were impacted, and those ballots were replicated so that a tabulator could read them. These votes were ultimately tallied, according to the authorities.
Richard Baris, a pollster who did exit polling in Arizona, was the second-to-last witness for Lake. He said that technical problems at voting sites turned off enough voters to swing the election in Lake's favor.
Election Day issues, according to Baris, prevented 25,000 to 40,000 voters from casting votes who otherwise would have done so, and those voters were more inclined to support Lake.
According to Baris, the majority of those who began filling out his exit poll but didn't complete it had an impact on his estimate.
Baris' allegation was described as "a sequence of assumptions and guesswork" by Kenneth Mayer, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who testified on behalf of election authorities.
Eight of the ten accusations Lake made in her case against Thompson were previously rejected. Among them was Lake's claim that Hobbs and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer participated in censorship by reporting social media postings with inaccurate election information for potential removal by Twitter.
Hobbs was serving as secretary of state at the time. On January 2, Hobbs begins serving as governor.
The trial for Republican Abraham Hamadeh's appeal of his close loss to Kris Mayes in the Arizona attorney general election is set to begin on Friday. Hamadeh, who was defeated by 511 votes, claims in his complaint that Maricopa County printer faults contributed to complications affecting people who were denied the right to vote.