As she continues to fight what she perceives as fraudulent acts that she claims caused her defeat, a judge in Maricopa County, Arizona, has decided he won’t stop former GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake’s attempts to access vote affidavit envelopes from last year’s election.
Maricopa County had maintained that the signatures on the ballot affidavit are considered confidential because they are a crucial component of the voter registration record, which is protected by state law, with the exception of a few particular instances where county attorneys believed Lake fell short.
According to the AZ Capitol Times late last month, Judge John Hannah rejected the argument on the grounds that county recorders regularly include ballot affidavit envelopes in voter registration records, not always as a result of legal requirements or explicit instructions.
Hannah stated from the bench that the court is “not required to defer to the elections officials in how they have historically interpreted” the Act. He continued by saying he had “no quarrel” with the interpretation even though he did not agree with it.
“I am not convinced that the ballot affidavit is a voter registration record,” Hannah said. “It is a record from which the election officials derive information that becomes part of the voter registration record, but that doesn’t mean the ballot affidavit itself is a voter registration record.”
“Hannah then tasked the parties with litigating under public records law instead, meaning the county must argue releasing the records would violate privacy interests or run counter to the best interest of the state. At oral arguments today, Joseph LaRue, senior election attorney for Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, previewed arguments from the county against disclosing the records.”
“The county concedes that the ballot affidavit envelopes are public records, but they claim they have ‘several’ vested interests in keeping the records confidential. He said the county sought ‘to protect the integrity of elections’ as making voter signatures publicly available could open the potential for forgery or fraud on ballot envelopes.”
LaRue added: “That would take some work. It wouldn’t be an easy thing to do, but it might be able to happen.”
But despite this, the county pronounced Lake’s election campaign to be over due to the inability to present new evidence on appeal and the laws governing discovery in such cases.
Bryan Blehm, an attorney for Lake, argued in opposition that the election challenge brought out by his client was still very much alive, adding, “We are still up, your honor, and signature verification is still on the table.”
He said signatures “are our identity. And in all elections, your Honor, these represent our most basic and fundamental rights as free people. This is this person’s identity. That is all. That is their identity, true at blue 100%.
“And there is no law that they have the right to hide that public record from people by shoving it into a voter registration record,” he added.
Lake has been evasive in regard to her future. She has apparently been spending a lot of time at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. However, it’s unclear whether he is considering her as his running mate in 2024.
“Kari Lake is there all the time,” an unnamed source told People magazine. “There’s a suite there that she practically lives in.”
A Lake representative, however, denied that the reports were true.
“Kari Lake often speaks at events all over the country in support of America First candidates and organizations, and when she does have the honor of being invited to speak at the beautiful Mar-a-Lago, she overnights at Hilton properties in Palm Beach with her loving husband of 25 years,” said a statement from a Lake adviser to People.