OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake celebrated a recent ruling from a judge in Georgia who ordered a new election after officials identified a number of “systemic irregularities” that potentially impacted the result.
“The case involved a rural county commission race in Screven County, where several candidates filed a lawsuit alleging incorrect ballots were issued to at least two dozen voters, potentially altering the outcome of a county commission race decided by just seven votes, The Georgia Virtue reported,” Newsweek reported.
“Several voters, it was later found, had been assigned ballots to districts they did not live in, meaning voters of a certain district were effectively disenfranchised from the vote in their home districts—an argument Lake made after up to 1,000 Arizona voters were provided with incorrect ballots in early voting in the fall. The judge ultimately ordered a new election in Screven County—something Lake has been pushing for in Arizona after alleging, and failing to prove, instances of rampant fraud and irregularities in her own election,” the outlet added.
“WORTH NOTING,” Lake wrote on Twitter.
Judge to Order New Election in Screven County, Georgia, After ‘Systemic Irregularities’ https://t.co/vumi8ZrAuk
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) December 28, 2022
On Wednesday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson denied a request from Arizona Democrat Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs seeking sanctions against Lake.
However, the judge did award Hobbs just over $33,000 to cover costs for retaining expert witnesses during a two-day trial brought on by Lake, who challenged the results of November’s gubernatorial election.
“After the litigation, Hobbs filed a request to the court seeking $36,990 in attorneys’ fees and expenses paid during a two-day trial, as well as sanctions against Lake. The court denied Hobbs’ request for sanctions against Lake, saying the claims presented in litigation were not groundless or brought in bad faith. But costs associated with fees of witnesses were covered, for the most part. Hobbs requested reimbursement of $5,900 for an expert who was retained and who testified during the court hearing,” Fox News reported.
“She also filed a separate request for expert witness fees in the amount of $22,451 and an additional $4,689.50 for the reimbursement of a person designated to inspect the ballots. The ballot inspector’s compensation, according to court documents, was charged at a rate of $565 per hour for 8.3 hours. The court agreed to reimburse the $33,040.50 to Hobbs. It also ordered that the amount accrue an annual interest of 7.5% until the money is paid in full,” the report added.
Lake announced over the weekend that she will file an appeal after a judge rejected her claims in a lawsuit that sought to overturn her election loss to Hobbs by around 17,000 votes.
Lake tweeted Saturday morning: “This Judge did not rule in our favor. However, for the sake of restoring faith and honesty in our elections, I will appeal his ruling.”
Judge Thompson wrote in his decision: “Every one of Plaintiff’s witnesses — and for that matter, Defendants’ witnesses as well — was asked about any personal knowledge of both intentional misconduct and intentional misconduct directed to impact the 2022 General Election. Every single witness before the Court disclaimed any personal knowledge of such misconduct. The Court cannot accept speculation or conjecture in place of clear and convincing evidence.”
Over 200 people submitted statements to the court detailing their frustrating experiences trying to vote on Election Day in Maricopa County. However, Judge Thompson stated that many of those voters were still able to cast their ballots.
“This 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,” Thompson wrote.
Judge Thompson said that Lake’s team did not provide evidence proving voters were turned away or refused ballots on Election Day.
“No election in Arizona has ever been set aside, no result modified, because of a statistical estimate,” Thompson wrote, regarding Baris’ testimony. “Election contests are decided by votes, not by polling responses, and the Court has found no authority suggesting that exit polling ought to be used in this manner.”
“Plaintiff has no free-standing right to challenge election results based upon what Plaintiff believes – rightly or wrongly – went awry on Election Day,” Thompson wrote. “She must, as a matter of law, prove a ground that the legislature has provided as a basis for challenging an election.”