The Arizona Court of Appeals is hearing the Kari Lake signature verification case


Republican Kari Lake of Arizona is asking her voters to elect her to the U.S. Senate, but on Thursday the justices are scheduled to hear an appeal in her case alleging she won the governor's office nearly 18 months ago.

Lake's appeal of a decision affirming that Maricopa County complied with the voter signature verification law is scheduled for a hearing before an Arizona appeals court in Tucson. The hearings are scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be livestreamed on the court's website.

Lake, a former television news anchor turned politician, filed a lawsuit against Democrat Katie Hobbs in December 2022, contesting her defeat. Hobbs won with 17,117 votes, a margin of 0.7 percentage points.

Lake alleged a series of wrongdoings, turning problems with ballots and long lines on Election Day into claims that tens of thousands of voters were disenfranchised. A new election must be held or a judge must rule that she is the rightful governor, she and her legal team argued.

The case has since been pending in Arizona courts and has previously gone to the state Supreme Court, which confirmed that the justices were right when they dismissed most of Lake's legal claims as meritless. Their claims were “insufficient to justify the relief sought under Arizona or federal law,” said the state Supreme Court’s March 2022 opinion. The court later fined Lake’s attorneys for making “clearly false” claims. had made claims about the addition of 35,000 ballot papers.

The Arizona Supreme Court found error on one point in the case and reversed the previous decisions, giving Lake and her lawyers another chance to challenge the procedures Maricopa County used to verify the signatures on ballot envelopes.

After a three-day trial in May 2023, a judge concluded that the county's procedures for comparing signatures on the envelopes with signatures in a voter file complied with state law. Lake's lawyers had argued that the rapid pace at which some election workers verified their signatures did not meet legal standards.

But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson disagreed, noting that state law does not specify a minimum time for review. All that is required is verification, said Thompson.

Arizona has two appeals court divisions, one that sits in Phoenix and one in Tucson. Lake's case was moved to Tucson because of a 2022 law that sought to balance the courts' caseload. Yet she claimed last year that this left her case in the “most Marxist part of the state.”

She filed numerous lawsuits related to her bid for governor, including a lawsuit against the use of voting machines that was recently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Another district judge claimed Maricopa County improperly denied access to more than a million voter signatures on ballot envelopes, a public records case that was rejected by another district judge. Lake abandoned her appeal in the case in March.

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Reach reporter Stacey Barchenger at [email protected] or 480-416-5669.

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