Kari Lake declines to concede, says she’s assembling legal team
(The Hill) – Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) declined to concede governor race to Democrat Katie Hobbs Thursday, raising concerns about the election process.
The Associated Press and other outlets projected that Hobbs won the race on Monday. But Lake indicated she is assembling a legal team that is “collecting evidence and data” pertaining to the electoral process.
“Rest assured, I have assembled the best and brightest legal team and we are exploring every avenue to correct the many wrongs that have been done this past week,” Lake said in a video address posted Thursday morning. “I’m doing everything in my power to right these wrongs.”
On multiple occasions, Lake, a Trump-backed candidate, sidestepped questions about whether she would accept the results of her election.
Since Election Day, Lake has called election officials “incompetent,” and shortly after Hobbs was projected as the winner, Lake tweeted: “Arizonans know BS when they see it.”
Lake on Thursday pointed to printing malfunctions in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county that includes Phoenix, calling it “unforgivable” and claiming voters were disenfranchised.
Seventy of the county’s 223 voting centers early on Election Day used printers that churned out ballots with ink that was too light for tabulation machines to read, election officials said.
Voters could wait in line until the issue was fixed, cast a ballot at another vote center or deposit their original ballot in a separate, secure box that was sent to the county’s central facility for tabulation.
County election officials have repeatedly pushed back on Lake’s allegations, saying no one was denied an opportunity to vote and indicated the issue impacted less than 7 percent of Election Day ballots.
The Lake campaign and Republican groups called for an extension of in-person voting on Election Day in the county just before polls closed, but a state judge rejected the motion, saying he had seen no evidence that a voter was unable to cast a ballot.
“The good news is election administration has built in redundancies — backup plans when things don’t go as planned,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates (D) and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman (R) said in a joint statement last week.
“This enables all valid votes to count even if technology, on occasion, fails,” the statement continued. “Voters impacted by the printer issue had several ways to cast their ballot yesterday, including dropping their completed ballot into a secure box (door 3) on site. Those ballots will be verified as legitimate and then tabulated.”
Some of Lake’s claims were also endorsed by former President Trump, who formally entered the 2024 presidential contest on Tuesday. Lake endorsed Trump in the race.
Lake on Thursday also attacked Hobbs, who serves as Arizona’s secretary of state, for declining to recuse herself from this year’s election proceedings.
Hobbs’s office oversees the certification of elections, while counties handle ballots and submit their tabulations to the office.
Allie Bones, Hobbs’s deputy, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday that the office will never touch ballots from the election.
But Bones added that Hobbs will fulfill a “ministerial act” of signing paperwork signing off on the statewide canvass alongside the signatures of the state’s Republican governor and attorney general.
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