A judge has rejected ex-gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s request to inspect ballot affidavit envelopes from the 2022 Arizona governor’s election, where she asserts victory despite the certified election results.
In a harsh 12-page decision, Judge John Hannah of the Maricopa County Superior Court turned down Lake’s plea to examine ballot envelopes signed by around 1.3 million early voters in the general election.
“Ms. Lake regards the electoral process much like the villagers in the famous fable regarded the goose that laid the golden egg, except that her goose failed to lay the egg she expected,” Hannah wrote.
“She insists that something must have gone wrong. If only she could cut open the electoral process and examine each of its 1.3 million pieces, she says, she would be able to figure out what happened and show that the prize has been there waiting for her all along,” he added.
Governor Katie Hobbs, a Democrat from Arizona, secured victory over Lake with a margin of over 17,000 votes. Despite more than a year passing since the election, Lake continues to assert that she was robbed of the governorship.
The recent ruling marks Lake’s third trial, commencing in September and following two prior unsuccessful attempts. In May, a judge dismissed Lake’s lawsuit alleging that Maricopa County failed to verify signatures on mail ballots as mandated by law.
Additionally, in February, a court rejected Lake’s lawsuit citing issues with ballot printers at certain polling locations.
Following the judge’s ruling on Thursday, Lake’s “war room” account on X, formerly known as Twitter, asserted that the judge declared the records as public but noted they were being withheld for other reasons.
“The judge ruled that while these records are public. The public has no right to see them,” the post reads.
“We can no longer trust or verify. Corrupt election officials are allowed to handle the peoples’s business in back rooms knowing the judiciary will not hold them accountable.”
Nevertheless, the judge’s decision affirmed that the records are not accessible to the public and include nonpublic information from voter registration records, such as the ending digits of a Social Security number.
Hannah wrote that the release of millions of ballot affidavit envelopes “would undermine the process of verifying those voters’ ballots in future elections,” adding it would create a risk of “widespread voter fraud where none now exists” and “expose voters to harassment and potentially force them to defend the integrity of their own votes.”
“Some number of voters would stop participating entirely, out of fear of identity theft or concern about privacy. But those individuals have exactly the same interest in being heard through the electoral process as those who voted for unsuccessful candidates in past elections. “
“Their frustration and disillusionment are every bit as harmful to democratic self-government as the frustration and disillusionment of those who have come to doubt the “integrity” of the electoral process,” Hannah added.
In October, Lake entered the Senate race, competing alongside Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) for Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-AZ) seat. Sinema has not disclosed whether she intends to seek reelection in 2024.
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