Arizona Judge grants Kari Lake’s request to inspect midterm ballots

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An Arizona judge approved former GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s request to inspect randomly selected ballots from the midterm election, giving her a small win in her efforts to challenge the results.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson approved three of Ms. Lake’s four demands for wanting to examine random ballots from the state’s most populous county.

The approved request is in line with a 70-page lawsuit Ms. Lake filed against top state election officials, alleging there were thousands of illegal votes and “violations” within the election process that resulted in a victory for her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs.

“Our lawsuit isn’t based on conspiracy or wild speculation,” Ms. Lake’s campaign tweeted. “We have laid out a very clear theory about statutory violations and a broken chain of custody. These ballots deserve close scrutiny and we’re delighted we have been granted it.”

The ruling allows a representative of Ms. Lake’s team’s choice to inspect 50 random ballots cast on Election Day from six polling stations in the county.

The representative will also be able to inspect 50 random early ballots from six separate Maricopa County batches, as well as 50 random “spoiled” ballots from six stations in the county.

The inspector will not be allowed to copy or photograph the ballots during the examination that will take place at 8 a.m. on Dec. 20.

Ms. Hobbs beat Ms. Lake by about 17,000 votes or just over half a percentage point.

Ms. Hobbs’ legal team sought to persuade the court that Ms. Lake has failed to meet the legal threshold to challenge an election, which could include misconduct by elections officials, an opponent’s ineligibility, or illegal or mistakenly counted votes.

“Kari Lake lost the governor’s race to Katie Hobbs by 17,117 votes,” Ms. Hobbs’ lawyer Alexis Danneman wrote in a motion this week. “In the face of this unsurmountable margin, Lake brings a sprawling election contest, alleging everything from cyber hacking to Twitter mischief to intra-Republican-warfare – all in an effort to sow distrust in Arizona’s election results.”

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