(Headline USA) A judge on Monday allowed part of a lawsuit filed by Arizona’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, permitting her to call witnesses who can attest to the evidence of massive and systemic vote fraud in Maricopa County that cost her the November election.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson dismissed eight of the 10 claims Lake raised in her lawsuit, which asks the judge to either declare her the winner or hold a revote in the county.
Thompson, a nonpartisan appointee of former GOP Gov. Jan Brewer, took no position on the merits of Lake’s two surviving claims, but he wrote that the law allows her to make her case.
Hobbs’s state-backed legal defense unsuccessfully sought to have the case dismissed outright by suggesting it was the duty of the judiciary to protect Democrats from the consequences of their corruption.
“The judiciary has served as a bulwark against these efforts to undo our democratic system from within, and we ask this court to assume that role again,” Abha Khanna, a lawyer representing Hobbs in court Monday.
After taking more than a week to count ballots following a catastrophic Election Day of malfunctioning voting machines, Maricopa’s activist anti-Lake election officials handed the election to Democrat Katie Hobbs by just over 17,000 votes out of 2.6 million cast.
Hobbs, the current secretary of state, then declared herself the victor and threatened criminal punishment for anyone who disputed her assertion.
Lake will attempt to prove in a two-day hearing scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday that ballot printers malfunctioned in Maricopa County because of intentional interference by election officials and that ballots were improperly added at a county contractor that handles returned mail ballots.
A representative for Lake will be allowed to examine 150 ballots on Tuesday.
“Buckle up, America. This is far from over,” Lake wrote on Twitter after the ruling.
She faces the extremely high bar of proving not only that misconduct occurred but that it affected the outcome of her race. Thompson will make a final decision, which will likely be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.
The judge dismissed a variety of constitutional claims, including Lake’s allegation that Hobbs, in her capacity as secretary of state, and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer engaged in censorship by flagging social media posts with election misinformation for possible removal by Twitter.
Lake was among the most vocal 2022 Republicans supporting former President Donald Trump, and she incorporated Trump’s no-holds-barred campaign strategy, which put her in the projected lead entering the polls on Nov. 8.
She has zeroed in on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County, home to more than 60% of voters. The defective printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by the on-site tabulators at polling places. Lines backed up in some areas amid the confusion.
County officials claimed everyone had a chance to vote and all ballots were counted, despite the obvious disfranchisement of those who left early due to the chaos and long lines, as well as those who were checked-in at one polling station and then left to vote at another, creating even more uncertainty as to whether their provisional votes counted.
Moreover, in at least two polling stations where election officials asked voters to put their uncounted ballots into the enigmatic “Door 3” for later counting, there were reports of uncounted ballots being intermingled with counted ones.
Still, Lake’s task of proving intent is a daunting one, despite the fact that Maricopa County officials like Richer and county Supervisor Bill Gates actively ran a Democrat-funded PAC that opposed pro-Trump candidates like her.
Meanwhile, a judge in conservative Mohave County said he would rule Tuesday on a separate election challenge filed by Abraham Hamadeh, the Republican candidate for attorney general, who “lost” by 511 votes to Democrat Kris Mayes.
Hamadeh’s case raises many of the same allegations as Lake’s. Mayes and Hobbs in her official capacity as secretary of state have asked Judge Lee Jantzen to dismiss the challenge.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press