Maricopa County, Arizona, Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson on Monday ruled against Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in her election challenge of Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ victory in November’s election.
The three-day trial centered on the issue of whether Maricopa County followed Arizona law during the signature review process for mail-in ballots.
Thompson noted in his ruling that during the trial, Lake’s legal team identified 274,000 signatures that were compared in less than two seconds and 70,000 that were reviewed in less than one second.
Lake expert witness Erich Speckin testified that he did not think it was possible to compare signatures for consistency in less than three seconds.
Thompson characterized Lake’s argument as being that “this is so deficient for signature comparison that it amounts to no process at all.”
“Accepting that argument would require the Court to re-write not only the [Election Procedures Manual] but Arizona law to insert a minimum time for signature verification and specify the variables to be considered in the process,” the judge wrote.
“The Court finds that looking at signatures that, by and large, have consistent characteristics will require only a cursory examination and thus take very little time,” Thompson continued.
He determined that under Arizona law, the issue was not whether Lake or even the court found the signature review process adequate, but whether Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and his designees did.
“It would be a violation of the constitutional separation of powers … for this Court, after the recorder has made a comparison to insert itself into the process and reweigh whether a signature is consistent or inconsistent,” Thompson wrote.
The judge concluded that Lake did not provide sufficient evidence to conclude Arizona law was not followed.
Craig Morgan, an attorney who represented Arizona Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes in the Lake lawsuit, celebrated Thompson’s decision.
“The court’s ruling only confirms what we have known all along: Arizona’s elections are safe, secure, and reliable, and those who help facilitate Arizona’s elections are honest, have the highest integrity, and are committed to the preservation of our democracy,” he said, according to The Arizona Republic.
“This is a victory for Arizona, our election processes, and voters across the state,” Morgan said.
Ruling in Lake Case by The Western Journal
Lake’s official campaign Twitter account shared a portion of journalist Rachel Alexander’s take on Thompson’s ruling.
Alexander previously served as a prosecutor for Maricopa County and in the Arizona attorney general’s office.
She wrote that Thompson said “the statute merely requires the county recorder to be satisfied with the signature review. Since Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, an election fraud denier who started a PAC for other GOP election fraud deniers, was fine with the signature review process, Thompson said that was all that mattered.”
“Thompson said, “No reviewer is required by statute or the EPM to spend any specific length of time on any particular signature.”
He then said that the statute merely requires the county recorder to be satisfied with the signature review. Since Maricopa County Recorder Stephen…
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) May 23, 2023
Richer and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors member Bill Gates founded a political action committee in 2021 dedicated to defeating MAGA Republican candidates such as Lake.
Lake had not announced by early Tuesday whether she will appeal Thompson’s decision.
The former Phoenix news anchor previously said she likely would run for the U.S. Senate in 2024 if her election challenge of the governor’s race was unsuccessful.
Big announcement tomorrow!
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) May 23, 2023
Lake teased that she would be making a major announcement Tuesday.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.