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Lake election trial ends, decide to resolve if she met burden of proof

4 min read

Kari Lake says that Maricopa County
didn’t carry out signature verification on greater than 344,000 early ballots
within the 2022 normal election. Maricopa County says it did. 

After the conclusion of a three-day trial,
it’s now as much as Maricopa County Superior Courtroom Decide Peter Thompson to
resolve if Lake and her attorneys have confirmed their case of their second
election problem trial in Thompson’s courtroom. 

After either side made their closing
statements Friday afternoon, Thompson didn’t point out when he anticipated
to rule on the case.

Lake, a Republican and 2020 election
denier, misplaced the governor’s race greater than six months in the past to Democratic
Gov. Katie Hobbs. However she has continued to say the title of true
governor, saying that the election was rigged, and has challenged her
17,000-vote loss, all the best way as much as the Arizona Supreme Courtroom. 

Lake needed to overcome the hurdle of
convincing the decide that no signature verification came about, and that
the shortage of verification led to sufficient unlawful ballots being accepted
to overturn the election.

“Maricopa places on a facade of taking
sig verification severely,” Lake lawyer Kurt Olsen stated throughout his
closing assertion Friday afternoon. 

Olsen referred to as signature verification
the “gatekeeper protection to voter fraud” and reminded the court docket that it
is required by state legislation to check voter signatures on early poll
envelopes with signatures on file for that voter earlier than tabulating the

“It doesn’t say that they’ll look
on the signatures,” Olsen stated, including that evaluating signatures takes a
sure period of time, however didn’t specify what that period of time
needs to be. 

He accused these working as signature
verifiers for the county of “velocity demoning” by way of the signatures
with out actually evaluating them. 

“We’re not arguing that signature
verifiers are doing a poor job,” Olsen stated. “We’re saying no signature
verification was occurring in any respect.”

Either side quibbled over the quantity
of ballots that have been truly reviewed in three seconds or fewer, with
Lake’s attorneys saying that in keeping with their skilled witness Erich Speckin
and his evaluation of knowledge supplied by Maricopa County by way of a public
data request, 274,000 ballots have been verified in three seconds or fewer
and 70,000 have been verified in 2 seconds or fewer. 

Speckin, an skilled in handwriting
evaluation, stated it was unattainable to investigate signatures that shortly,
whereas Maricopa County’s Co-Election Director Rey Valenzuela identified
that signature assessment includes on the lookout for consistency, not essentially
actual matches. 

Tom Liddy, lawyer for Maricopa
County, identified that Speckin’s chart containing these numbers was
by no means admitted into proof. 

“Respectfully, this court docket shouldn’t
take into account these numbers when figuring out if Lake and staff had met her
burden of proof,” Liddy stated. “Not a single witness got here earlier than you and
stated {that a} single poll pack was not reviewed for signature
verification. Speckin by no means stated 274,000 poll packets weren’t

Olsen countered that Speckin’s
numbers supplied “clear and convincing proof that Maricopa County is
not conducting signature verification in accordance with the legislation.”

He argued that Speckin’s numbers have been sufficient to go on to put aside the election and requested Thompson to take action. 

 “This election was illegal,” Olsen stated. 

Liddy went on to say that Lake’s personal
witnesses, Jacqueline Onigkeit and Andrew Myers, each labored to confirm
signatures themselves, with Onigkeit testifying that she was completely
educated and was informed to take care when deciding to approve a signature
or ship it to a extra skilled employee for assessment. 

“That’s fairly good proof that Maricopa County did signature verification in accordance with (the legislation),” Liddy stated. 

Olsen additionally referred to as out the county for
atheir lack of transparency after two of Lake’s witnesses testified that
there have been simply solely 24 short-term degree one signature reviewers working
the 2022 normal election and solely three degree two reviewers, solely to
discover out later from Valenzuela that there have been a complete of 153 folks
reviewing signatures. 

The extra signature reviewers
that the Lake witnesses didn’t find out about have been all county staff who
have been working from different places of work as a substitute of alongside the 24 temp employees
who have been being watched by livestream and in-person election observers. 

“Why was this all carried out behind closed
doorways?” Olsen requested in regards to the further signature verification employees.
“That’s the secret military that Maricopa County employed.” 

Elena Rodriguez, lawyer for Hobbs,
stated throughout closing arguments that it appears Lake wouldn’t consider
signature verification occurred except she or her followers watched it
occur personally. 

“On the finish of the day, all Lake has
ever claimed is as a result of she misplaced the election, one thing have to be amiss,”
Rodriguez stated, including that the only rationalization isn’t that the
county didn’t do signature verification or that it has a uniquely
giant variety of voters making an attempt to solid ballots illegally however that Lake
misplaced the election. 

“She’s clearly sad about it however that isn’t an issue for this court docket or any court docket to attempt to resolve,” Rodriguez stated. 

The protection requested the decide to disclaim Lake’s declare and put an finish to the election contest. 

Lake misplaced her first trial in Thompson’s courtroom in December, and appealed to the Arizona Supreme Courtroom, which despatched one among her 10 preliminary claims again to Thompson for additional examination whereas upholding the dismissal of the opposite 9.

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