OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Kurt Olsen, the lawyer for Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, claimed late last week that there was not just a handful of fraudulent signatures on mail-in ballots in the November election but rather a complete “systemic failure” in Maricopa County.
On Wednesday night, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld most of the rulings by the trial court and the Arizona Court of Appeals in favor of Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County. However, the court did send one of Lake’s claims back to the trial court for further consideration.
The trial court had ruled in December that Lake’s claim regarding the county’s failure to follow proper procedures to ensure the identity of voters had been brought up too late. According to the decision, she should have raised the issue before the election, the Western Journal notes.
The judge cited the legal doctrine of laches, which holds that plaintiffs must assert their rights in a timely manner, or they may be barred from obtaining a legal remedy. But last week, the Arizona Supreme Court disagreed with that ruling.
“Contrary to the ruling of the trial court and the Court of Appeals Opinion, this signature verification challenge is to the application of the policies, not to the policies themselves. Therefore, it was erroneous to dismiss this claim under the doctrine of laches because Lake could not have brought this challenge before the election,” the state’s highest court ruled.
Olsen told FrankSpeech.com host Emerald Robinson Thursday: “The Supreme Court did remand this case back on the issue of signature verification, which is a very, very significant issue. There are literally over 100,000 ballots in question because of invalid signatures that were accepted and tabulated.”
“This is not a challenge about simply a few bad signatures. … This is about a systemic failure of the entire signature verification process, which is allowing tens of thousands of ballots with signatures that don’t match the record on file. And this is the only security feature for mail-in voting,” Olsen said.
.@Karilake Attorney Kurt Olsen: "This is not a challenge about simply a few bad signatures. This is about a systemic failure of the ENTIRE signature verification process." pic.twitter.com/qShH7vgzJN
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) March 23, 2023
According to Lake’s legal filing with the Arizona Supreme, “whistleblowers conducting signature verification at [the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center] came forward with the evidence that Maricopa disregarded Arizona law and allowed tens of thousands of uncured ballots with nonmatching signatures to be counted.”
The term “curing” ballots refers to the process of contacting voters whose ballots would otherwise be rejected due to errors in order to verify the voter’s identity and correct any mistakes.
“So the question really becomes who is mailing in all these votes with signatures that don’t match the voter signature on file? … It really goes to the heart of a critical issue for the security of mail-in voting,” Olsen told Robinson.
Following the state Supreme Court’s ruling, Lake said in a statement: “Immediately following the election, multiple Maricopa County Elections Department officials — individuals who were involved in the signature verification process — reached out to me and urged my team to review the signatures.
“Three whistleblowers came forward with revelations of massive failures in the signature verification process. These whistleblowers were intimately involved in the process, and they allege that Maricopa County WILLFULLY ignored law and procedure,” she added.
“When we verify these allegations, there will be no doubt that this election was compromised and that its results fail to meet the standard of certainty as outlined in Arizona law,” she noted further.
Lake also noted in January: “We have three whistleblowers in the signature verification department in Maricopa County, who said that they were rejecting tens of thousands of signatures to the tune of up to 130,000 ballots that were being rejected for bad signatures. And somebody above them was sending them on through anyway.”
.@KariLake: "We have 3 whistleblowers in the signature verification department in Maricopa… Who said that they were rejecting tens of thousands of signatures to the tune of up to 130,000 ballots that were being rejected… Somebody above them was sending them on through anyway" pic.twitter.com/cnccVZRtqp
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) January 14, 2023
Hobbs, who was secretary of state at the time and in charge of statewide elections, defeated Lake by about 17,000 votes, or 0.7 percent of the more than 2.5 million votes cast.
According to Shiva Ayyadurai, the founder of the Election Systems Integrity Institute, who testified before the Arizona Senate in September 2021 after a Maricopa County audit, the issues with signature verification in the county should have been addressed after the 2020 election.
“The data is all there. It proves unequivocally that the curing process is flawed,” he told The Western Journal Friday. “I do not believe any substantial difference took place between 2020 and 2022.”