Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is reportedly preparing to file a lawsuit to challenge her midterm loss, marking the latest election drama in the Grand Canyon State as it works to certify its results next week.
Lake, who lost by just 0.5 of a percentage point to Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, is planning to sue Arizona’s largest county to overturn her election loss, alleging several voters were unable to vote on Election Day because of problems with ballot machines, sources told Time. The Republican candidate has refused to concede the race more than three weeks after Election Day, claiming these problems unfairly cost her the race.
The lawsuit comes after Maricopa County experienced a number of technological challenges on Election Day, resulting in long lines and widespread confusion at a number of polling places. The county began reporting problems with its printer settings on the afternoon of Election Day after some ballot tabulators began malfunctioning, prompting election officials to tell voters to either wait for the machines to come back online or to vote at another location.
However, county officials rejected claims that voters were denied the right to vote as election workers sorted out the problems, noting any voter who wanted to submit their ballot was able to do so.
“People were still able to vote,” said Bill Gates, the chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors. “It was just a matter of maybe not voting in the way they wanted to.”
Lake’s lawsuit is likely to allege that the problems with Maricopa’s voting machines disproportionately affected Republicans, according to Time, as GOP voters are more likely to vote in person on Election Day compared to Democrats, who are more likely to cast their ballots early.
The Republican candidate spent much of her campaign reiterating claims from former President Donald Trump that mail-in ballots make elections susceptible to voter fraud, specifically causing his loss to President Joe Biden in 2020.
Lake is reportedly planning on asking the Maricopa County Superior Court to nullify the midterm election results and hold it again — a ruling that would be unprecedented in modern U.S. elections. Some of the Republican candidate’s top advisers have acknowledged the lawsuit is a long shot, noting it will be “tough” to prove.
“Courts require proof,” a Lake insider told Time. “And it’s going to be hard to prove. You don’t know how many people actually drove to a polling location, looked at the long line, and left. You’ll never know who decided not to pull in. And that’s unfortunate for Kari. We can just argue common sense. But that’s not evidence in court. It’s going to be tough.”
Arizona is set to certify its election on Monday when the governor, the attorney general, the secretary of state, and the chief justice meet to validate and finalize the results. Once that is complete, candidates are then able to file lawsuits challenging the results.
At least one other candidate is likely to sue over the state’s election results, with GOP attorney general candidate Abraham Hamadeh and the Republican National Committee saying the results of his race were “afflicted with certain errors and inaccuracies” that caused the Republican to lose. Hamadeh sued over the results late last month, but a judge rejected the suit, noting it was filed prematurely.