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Kari Lake files lawsuit against Arizona elections officials

Kari Lake speaks at the Republican Party election night event on Nov. 8 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Lake lost the gubernatorial race to Democrat Katie Hobbs, who is currently secretary of state. (Joshua Lott/The Washington Post)

Republican Kari Lake, who lost the race for Arizona governor, sued state elections officials Friday, challenging the ballot counting and certification of the midterm election and asking a court to declare her the winner.

Lake, who rose to national attention backing former president Donald Trump’s false claims of 2020 election fraud, had been expected to file the suit, which came after Arizona’s election results were certified Monday.

The lawsuit targets Lake’s opponent, Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs (D), who is currently Arizona’s secretary of state, along with top officials in Maricopa County, the most populous in the state. As secretary of state, Hobbs certified Arizona’s election results.

In the 70-page lawsuit, Lake asks the Maricopa County Superior Court for an order “declaring that Kari Lake is the winner of the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election,” or, alternatively, throwing out the results of the election and requiring the county to conduct a new election.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake lost the 2022 election to Katie Hobbs (D) in Arizona. She blames election fraud. (Video: Kari Lake via Storyful)

Lake is the highest-profile election denier to contest her own loss in the midterm elections. Most others who lost have conceded defeat.

She is not the only Arizona Republican who filed a lawsuit after losing in the midterms.

Abraham Hamadeh, who was unsuccessful in his bid to be Arizona’s next attorney general, challenged the 2022 election results in a lawsuit filed on Friday against the winner of that race, Democrat Kris Mayes; Hobbs; and 15 county recorders and boards of supervisors.

Hamadeh is not “alleging any fraud, manipulation or other intentional wrongdoing that would impugn the outcomes of the November 8, 2022, general election,” the lawsuit says, but he casts doubt on the midterm elections by claiming there were “systematic” errors. An Arizona judge previously dismissed a nearly identical complaint from Hamadeh because it was filed prematurely and before the state certified election results. That race is already going to a mandatory recount.

Even before midterm voting began, Lake refused to say she would accept the results of the gubernatorial election unless she won. She described the race as “botched” before it was called.

The lawsuit repeats unsupported claims that Lake has previously made about Maricopa County’s election and alleges that Hobbs and county officials have “shattered” public trust in the election process.

Hobbs’s campaign called the lawsuit baseless, saying it was a “desperate attempt to undermine our democracy and throw out the will of the voters.”

“Arizonans made their voices heard and elected Katie Hobbs as governor. No nuisance lawsuit will change that,” Hobbs’s campaign said in a statement on Twitter.

Like Trump, Lake has sought to sow doubt in the election results via social media, asking users to share their accounts of voting issues in Maricopa County. She has shared stories of some voters who had to wait in lines to cast their ballots because of a printing error.

“The Election Day debacle … preclude[s] the Defendants in this action from certifying Hobbs as the winner of the election,” the lawsuit reads. The suit partly hinges on those claims, alleging “illegal” votes and saying Republican voters were “disenfranchised.”

Responding to a request for comment from The Washington Post, Lake’s legal counsel, Kurt Olsen, cited details from the lawsuit and said “it’s about restoring trust in the election process.”

Olsen complained of purported discrepancies between ballot signatures and the official file signatures for some voters, as well as mechanical problems at some sites on Election Day.

There is no evidence voters could not cast their ballots because of mechanical glitches, according to a report by election officials. Tom Liddy, a lifelong Republican who heads Maricopa County’s office for civil litigation, wrote in a letter issued along with the report that “all voters were still provided reasonable, lawful options for voting.”

A leaked call last month showed that attorneys for Lake’s campaign and the Republican National Committee questioned a lawyer for Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, about perceived voting problems. After her loss, advisers urged Lake not to claim the election was stolen, as Trump did in 2020, The Post reported.

Lake also asks the judges to order a “forensic examination” into what the lawsuit lists as problems on Election Day, to throw out any invalid ballots, and to allow her to inspect Maricopa County’s ballots.

Eugene Daniels and Meryl Kornfield contributed to this report.

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