An expert witness called by lawyers representing Maricopa County made it clear that there was no substance to any of failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake's claim that Election Day issues in the county cost her the election.
"My high-level response is that all the claims that were made in the complaint about the effects of voter wait times, the claims of disenfranchisement, claims about a disproportionate effect on Republicans and their voters, that they are all based on pure speculation," said Kenneth Mayer, a professor of political science at UW Madison. "There's simply no data to support any of those claims, and there's quite a bit of data that suggests this did not happen."
Lake lost to Arizona Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs by roughly 17,000 votes and has refused to concede her race. Instead, the Trump-endorsed candidate has followed the same steps as the former president and baselessly claimed that she was robbed of an election victory.
The former news anchor remained one of the most vocal Republicans this year in promoting election falsehoods. After her loss, Lake filed a lawsuit asking a court to either declare her the winner or order a revote in Maricopa County. A judge threw out eight of the 10 claims in her lawsuit but allowed her to present her case that Maricopa officials intentionally caused ballot problems and that proper ballot chain of custody rules were not followed.
But the prominent election denier did not offer evidence to back her claims of widespread intentional misconduct on Election Day during her two-day trial, lawyers for the state said.
Lake claimed that printer problems at Maricopa County polling places were intentional acts that affected her election outcome but never established her claim, said Abha Khanna, a lawyer representing Hobbs. He added that her claims were based on hearsay, speculation and theatrics, the Associated Press reported.
"What we got instead was just loose threads and gaping plot holes. We know now that her story was a work of fiction," Khanna said.
After the proceedings, Lake stood outside the courthouse and claimed that her attorneys proved their case.
"We proved without a shadow of a doubt that there was malicious intent that caused disruption so great it changed the results of the election," Lake said. "We provided expert testimony. We provided experts. The other side brought in activists to try to save face. They admitted that they've known about these ballot problems."
Her lawyers focused on ballot printers that encountered problems at some polling places in Maricopa County. The printers produced ballots that were too light to be processed by the on-site tabulators at polling places.
Voters whose ballots couldn't be read had to place their ballots in a secure box used for ballots that would need to be counted later at a central location.
Maricopa County elections co-director Scott Jarrett said he has "no reason to believe" any of the problems were the result of intentional misconduct, CNN reported.
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Jarrett also explained that similar "shrink to fit," or "fit to print," issues also occurred at some sites in previous primary and general elections. This was due to human error resulting from attempts to solve printer troubles.
"All the votes get transferred to the duplicated ballot that gets duplicated and tabulated," Jarrett said.
But Kurt Olsen, one of Lake's attorneys, in his closing argument said Jarrett's explanation of the "shrink to fit" printer problems "doesn't fit" and doesn't make sense."
"This is about trust, your honor. It's about restoring people's trust," Olsen said.
Lake's last witness was Richard Baris, a pollster who conducted exit polling in Arizona. He claimed that technical problems at polling places disenfranchised between 25,000 to 40,000 voters, which changed the outcome of the race for Lake.
But Mayer said that Baris' claim was "a series of assumptions and speculation."
"This was their big moment to show their hand," Khanna, said of Lake's claims of voter fraud in her closing argument. "But the only thing that has come to light over the last day and a half – everyone waiting with bated breath to see the big reveal behind these claims – is that they never had the evidence to back them up."
about Kari Lake's election lawsuit