Posted BY: Daniel R. Street

When the winning forecast in pre-election polling for Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake did not materialize on Election Day, the tabulator and printer issues in Maricopa County were widely believed to be the culprit.  These widespread issues in Maricopa County were expected to form much of the basis of the Lake campaign’s anticipated challenge to the election, though what additional claims form the basis of the suit was anyone’s guess.  The suspense ended on December 9, 2022, when Lake filed her formal election contest in Maricopa County Superior Court.  The issues raised with the 2022 Arizona elections are far more extensive, and troublesome, than the tabulator/printer issues alone.

A basic understanding of the litigation, the claims, and the applicable law will inform readers.  Election contests in Arizona are governed by Article 13 of Title 16 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.  ARS §16-672 deals specifically with contests of state elections.  This statute sets forth multiple grounds for challenges to state elections, including misconduct of election boards or officers involved in the canvassing, illegal votes, and erroneous count of votes, among others.  The challenge filed by Lake implicates several of these provisions.  While the election contest suit itself totals 70 pages, the fundamental claims may be distilled down to a handful of major issues.

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Misconduct and Illegal Votes

The election contest alleges that several separate actions or omissions on the part of elections officials constitute “misconduct” within the meaning of the Arizona statute.  The suit also alleges that multiple categories of illegal votes were erroneously included in the canvass.  Finally, the suit alleges Federal Equal Protection and Due Process violations.

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