Tag: katie hobbs
'Enough Really Is Enough': Maricopa County Officials Seek Sanctions On Lake

'Enough Really Is Enough': Maricopa County Officials Seek Sanctions On Lake

Republican Kari Lake, who recently identified “as a proud election-denying deplorable” and joked that her pronouns were “I/Won,” may be heading for a fresh round of court sanctions after losing a last-gasp bid to overturn her defeat in November’s Arizona gubernatorial election.

Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest city, demanded the sanctions against Lake in a filing Monday, barely two days after an Arizona court tossed out the Republican nominee’s latest election-subverting lawsuit, aptly branded “a hodgepodge of allegations” by the New York Times.

Just days before Lake launched her last-ditch attempt to salvage her electoral loss, a U.S. district judge sanctioned her legal team for filing an “entirely frivolous” lawsuit in April — demanding the use of paper ballots and banning the use of voting machines — based on false charges of election fraud.

Lake, a loud election denier prominent in the MAGA community and backed by former President Donald Trump, shot to far-right stardom for peddling such unfounded allegations — of course, without evidence — in the 2020 and 2022 elections.

“Enough really is enough,” read the Maricopa County court filing. "It is past time to end unfounded attacks on elections and unwarranted accusations against elections officials. This matter was brought without any legitimate justification, let alone a substantial one.”

Lake, as the court papers noted, “publicly stated that she would accept the results of the gubernatorial election only if she were the winning candidate,” referencing Lake’s October interview with CNN, during which she refused to commit to accepting a loss in the midterms.

The statement continued: “But she has not simply failed to publicly acknowledge the election results. Instead, she filed a groundless, seventy-page election contest lawsuit against the Governor-Elect, the Secretary of State, and Maricopa County and several of its elected officials and employees (but no other county or its employees), thereby dragging them and this Court into this frivolous pursuit."

The county’s motion — officially joined by Hobbs, per NBC News — asked that Lake hand over $25,050 in attorney fees to Hobbs and the populous jurisdiction, noting that the courts “should not be used to harass political opponents and sow completely unfounded doubts about the integrity of elections.”

According to Reuters, Hobbs submitted a separate motion asking the Arizona Superior Court to award her $600,000 in legal fees.

In a response Monday, Lake’s legal team decried the sanction requests as an effort to punish the Republican for bringing forth “legitimate” electoral allegations.

"Plaintiff’s claims were neither legally groundless nor were they brought in bad faith or for purposes of harassment as is required under Arizona law to justify sanctions," Lake’s response stated.

However, around the same time as the response, Lake accused Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson, who will rule on the sanctions filings, of soliciting ghostwriting services to draft his ruling that denied her election subversion gambit, screenshots posted to Twitter by Lake’s critics allege.


Freshly Sanctioned By Judge, Lake Lawyers Still Seeking To Overturn Election

Freshly Sanctioned By Judge, Lake Lawyers Still Seeking To Overturn Election

Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake celebrated a judge’s decision Monday to grant a sliver of her election lawsuit passage to trial — where it will be argued by a crackpot legal team sanctioned just weeks ago for filing “entirely frivolous” election lawsuits.

Lake’s lawyers — MAGA attorneys Alan Dershowitz, Kurt Olsen, and Andrew Parker — were chastised and sanctioned by a federal judge on December 1 for filing a garbage lawsuit in April to compel Arizona to use only paper ballots going forward, which the state already did.

U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi, who issued the sanctions, acknowledged “concerns expressed by other federal courts about misuse of the judicial system to baselessly cast doubt on the electoral process in a manner that is conspicuously consistent with the plaintiffs’ political ends.”

The sanctions, the judge said, were to “penalize specific attorney conduct with the broader goal of deterring similarly baseless filings initiated by anyone, whether an attorney or not.”

Lake, who no doubt was privy to the ruling word for word, told a different story to a crowd of supporters at far-right Turning Point USA’s America Fest on Saturday, claiming, “The powers that be are trying to silence them.”

"Can you pray for our legal team?" she asked the crowd. "They're telling these attorneys: 'If you dare try to fight these stolen, corrupted elections, we're going to take away your license to practice law, we're going to take away your ability to feed your family.’”

On Tuesday, Lake admitted to fringe-right podcaster and TPUSA leader Charlie Kirk that the court sanctions had spurred what was left of her shambolic legal team to flee in droves, a development she likewise blamed on the “left.”

“We had attorneys who did walk away because the left is threatening them with their ability to make a living and practice law,” she told Kirk. “And some of our attorneys said, ‘Look, I got mouths to feed, I can’t do this case, I don’t want to be sanctioned.’”

“I got to a point where I said, ‘I’ll take anybody,’” Lake added, unwittingly verifying the quality of her legal counsel and admitting to the dead-on-arrival nature of her electoral allegations.

Lake, who lost November’s Arizona gubernatorial race to Gov-elect Katie Hobbs by over 17,000 votes, alleged in her new 70-page complaint that “the number of illegal votes cast in Arizona’s general election… far exceeds the 17,117 vote margin.”

The lawsuit contained a hodgepodge of allegations untethered to reality, including a new right-wing hoax — based on Elon Musk's selectively released “Twitter Files” — that Hobbs, in her capacity as then-secretary of state, had engaged in censorship and election interference by flagging tweets with election misinformation for removal.

In a stinging rebuke of the electoral conspiracies on which Lake’s campaign stands, Maricopa County Superior Court judge Peter Thompson struck out all but two of ten of the dubious claims made by Lake and her lawyers.

The two surviving claims in her lawsuit — unfounded allegations Hobbs attorney Marc Elias said Lake would find impossible to prove in court — comprise the wild allegation that Republican Maricopa county officials sabotaged Election Day printers to disenfranchise Lake voters.

Despite the daunting challenge of corroborating such a claim, Lake cheered the ruling in a tweet Tuesday, asking the American public to “buckle up.”

Prior to the ruling, Lake hinted over the weekend about what awaited her opposers should her election subversion efforts fail: violence.

“They have built a house of cards here in Maricopa County,” she told Kirk during a Turning Point USA conference over the weekend. “I think they’re all wondering what I’m gonna do. I’ll tell you what: I’m not just gonna knock that house of cards over. We’re going to burn it to the ground.”

Scorning Democracy, Trump Demands Lake Be 'Installed' As Arizona Governor

Scorning Democracy, Trump Demands Lake Be 'Installed' As Arizona Governor

Former President Trump, the loser of the 2020 presidential election, has demanded that the loser of Arizona’s 2022 gubernatorial election, Kari Lake, be crowned governor of the Grand Canyon State after falsely blaming her defeat on “yet another criminal voting operation.”

"Massive numbers of 'BROKEN' voting machines in Republican Districts on Election Day. Mechanics sent in to 'FIX' them made them worse,” Trump claimed without evidence on his disinformation platform, Truth Social.

“Kari had to be taken to a Democrat area, which was working perfectly, to vote. Her opponent ran the Election. This is yet another criminal voting operation - SO OBVIOUS. Kari Lake should be installed Governor of Arizona. This is almost as bad as the 2020 Presidential Election, which the Unselect Committee refuses to touch because they know it was Fraudulent!"

Trump’s hoax-filled diatribe was a response to Lake’s tirade on Truth Social, blaming “incompetent” election officials and “Fake News” for “Arizonians hav[ing] no Faith and Trust in our Elections.”

Despite trailing her Democratic opponent by about 17,000 votes, with 99 percent of the ballots in Arizona reported, Lake, a 2020 election denier who committed to accepting the election only if she won, has refused to concede to Governor-elect Katie Hobbs more than two weeks after the race was called.

Last week, Lake lashed out at Arizona’s departing Republican governor, Doug Ducey, for christening the election a “democratic process,” congratulating Hobbs on her victory, and promising an orderly transition from his administration to hers.

"This is just beyond 2020. I mean what they did in 2020, looks like they did it again, and then some. And for the Governor (@DougDucey), if he says he's going to certify this, and @KatieHobbs to certify this, I think they really better think long and hard," Lake tweeted, alluding to the Big Lie — the false claim that a state-wide voter fraud operation, orchestrated by Democrats, had cost Trump the 2020 elections.

Amid the flood of false election fraud claims promoted by Lake and Trump, the firebrand sued the election administrators she had repeatedly assailed -- Maricopa County’s Republican election officials -- alleging electoral wrongdoing in what she branded “the shoddiest election ever.”

The lawsuit — which Lake announced last Wednesday on “War Room,” indicted Trump ally Steve Bannon’s podcast — demanded the Maricopa County Superior Court compel the county’s election officials to provide Lake’s campaign with various public records, including the number of ballots sent to voters overseas and their verification process.

Citing Maricopa County’s "printer/tabulation problem[s]” — an Election Day malfunction with some printers across the county, which election technicians identified and fixed in a few hours — Lake’s suit is also demanding contact information of voters at polling sites with printer malfunctions and the number of spoiled Election Day ballots.

In a scathing report issued Sunday, Maricopa County rebuffed the false claims of election malpractice and blamed Republican politicians for casting doubt on a secure alternative the county made available for voters inconvenienced by the voting glitches.

A “root cause analysis” of the now-infamous printer issues, which prevented some tabulators from taking ballots on Election Day, was underway; however, all printers “had updated firmware, were installed with uniform settings, and used the same settings that were used in prior elections” the county noted in its report.

Despite providing a “legal, secure, and reliable” voting alternative for people whose ballots tabulators could not read — a secure dropbox option called “Door 3” — “many high-profile and influential individuals instructed voters to not deposit their ballots in Door 3,” Maricopa County wrote in its report.

Tom Liddy, the Republican head of Maricopa County’s civil division, noted that eight other counties utilized only secure drop boxes, whose contents would be tallied at a centralized location, because “[the counties] lacked any tabulators in their polling locations at all.”

The county’s Republican-controlled board unanimously voted to certify its 2022 election results even as the lifelong Republican chairman of the county’s board of supervisors, Bill Gates, was relocated to an undisclosed location for safety after several threats to his safety appeared in far-right Internet spaces.

However, several counties hesitated in approving their election canvass ahead of Monday's state deadline stipulated by law, and several attorneys warned Republican county election supervisors of criminal charges if they ignored their obligation to certiify, according to the Associated Press.

One such jurisdiction, Mohave County, reluctantly certified its election on Monday, with its election-denying board of supervisors chairman, Ron Gould, attributing the delay to “a question” he had about “how our election is run.”

But rural Cochise County, another deep-red stronghold, delayed its certification vote until Friday, despite having no election hiccups, buying time to hear more about the far right’s “concerns over the certification of ballot tabulators,” Jonathan Cooper of the Press reported Tuesday.

Those concerns were pitched to the county’s elections board by a trio of conspiracy theorists — Tom Rice, Brian Steiner, and Daniel Wood — all of whom participated in at least four Arizona Supreme Court cases challenging the results of the 2020 elections, according to the Washington Post.

Hobbs sued Cochise County on Monday, asking the court to compel the county to comply with Arizona law, which demands county elections be certified by November 28.

Barring the court’s intervention, Hobbs spokesperson Sophia Solis said, the secretary of state would “have no choice” but to complete a statutory certification of the state-wide canvass without Cochise County’s votes by December 8.

Ironically, Cochise County's failure to certify could flip the results of two races, including a U.S. House seat, from Republican to Democrat, the Press noted, pruning the GOP’s meager House majority even further.
Facing Certification Deadline, Arizona Election Deniers Refuse To Admit Defeat

Facing Certification Deadline, Arizona Election Deniers Refuse To Admit Defeat

By Ned Parker

As Arizona counties face a Monday deadline to certify their midterm election results, Republican candidates and activists promoting false theories of voter fraud are refusing to back down.

State Senator-elect Jake Hoffman, head of Arizona’s Freedom Caucus, a group of largely pro-Trump Republican state lawmakers, told Reuters he will lead an investigation into the state’s election when the legislature reconvenes in January.

Right-wing activist Steve Bannon, a former Trump administration official and promoter of election conspiracy theories, said voting machine mishaps on the November 8, Election Day, tainted Democrat Katie Hobbs’ victory over Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor who has refused to concede.

Hobbs “will never be considered legitimate,” said Bannon, who has been providing Lake counsel. "That's going to cripple her ability to govern. So that's why this is a crisis. There's a crisis for the entire state.”

Lake, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, was one of dozens of Republican candidates who questioned or denied the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and lost in the midterms.

The defeat of Lake and other election deniers was seen as a powerful rebuke of candidates who echoed Trump’s myths of a stolen election.

Lake, however, has remained defiant after her 17,116-vote loss.

“We know we WON this election and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure that every single Arizonan’s vote that was disenfranchised is counted,” Lake said in an interview posted on her Twitter account on Saturday.

Lake’s team filed a lawsuit in state court on Wednesday against the Republican government of Maricopa County, demanding information on voters whose ballots were affected by voting machine problems. Her Republican colleague, Abe Hamadeh, who ran for attorney general and lost by 510 votes, has filed a lawsuit against his Democratic opponent as well as state and local officials, seeking to overturn his defeat.

In Maricopa County, tabulators at 71 of 223 polling stations were unable to read ballots because of printer ink problems on Election Day.

County officials said the issue was quickly addressed. Affected voters could deposit ballots in a secure on-site container called “box three” or wait for another ballot or travel to another polling center.

Republican activists urged voters not to use the secure box on Election Day, according to Maricopa County officials. Some activists expressed concerns on social media that ballots placed in secure boxes would not be counted.

“It certainly was not helpful as far as we were concerned because it was contradicting the official elections department information that we were trying to get out to voters in real time,” said Maricopa County spokesman Jason Berry.

Rejecting the secure boxes backfired, said David Becker, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research. “If they followed instructions, there would've been no lines. There would've been no delays. They would've moved through the process very, very effectively.”

Becker, who consults for Republican and Democrat election officials around the country, said Maricopa’s technical problems were not unusual and occur in every election at hundreds of polling centers nationally.

Maricopa officials, who are Republicans, have said that an estimated 17,000 voters were impacted by the problem with the printer ink.

Maricopa County on Sunday released a report detailing voter numbers by location on Election Day and was scheduled to certify election results on Monday.


Elsewhere in Arizona, two conservative counties, Mohave and Cochise, do not plan to certify election results until Monday, the final day to formally do so, following pressure by election deniers.

The chairman of Mohave County’s Board of Supervisors, Ron Gould, told Reuters that his county delayed certifying last Monday because his board was waiting to see Maricopa’s explanations for what happened to the ballots of its affected voters.

In Cochise County, the three-person board postponed its certification after hearing testimony on November 18 from three election conspiracy theorists who argued that the county’s voting machines were not properly certified.

The Secretary of State’s office said the matter was due to a clerical error and sent a letter to the board last Tuesday that included documentation of the machines’ licenses.

But in an email to Reuters, Cochise County Supervisor Tom Crosby declined to say whether the board will certify the county’s results on Monday.

(Editing by Jason Szep and Linda So)