Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson has dismissed Kari Lake’s election contest a second time. His first dismissal was reversed by the Arizona Supreme Court in March, and he was ordered to reconsider the signature verification issue. Thompson issued an opinion merely six pages long on Monday, just one business day after the trial ended Friday afternoon.
Thompson stated in his ruling that the legal standard was whether Lake had shown there was misconduct by election boards participating in a canvass, citing A.R.S. 16-672(A)(1). However, the Arizona Supreme Court did not specifically refer to that part of the statute in its remand opinion. Thompson then tied the misconduct to the standard the Arizona Supreme Court did use, which was to show that “votes [were] affected ‘in sufficient numbers to alter the outcome of the election’ based on a ‘competent mathematical basis to conclude that the outcome would plausibly have been different, not simply an untethered assertion of uncertainty.’”
The Arizona Supreme Court tied that standard to all of A.R.S. 16-672, not just its misconduct clause. That statute lays out the grounds for an election contest, which includes “On account of illegal votes” and “by reason of erroneous count of votes.”
Thompson asserted that Lake had to prove that election boards’ misconduct affected the outcome of the election, citing Miller v. Picacho Elementary School District No. 33. However, that case did not state that a showing of misconduct was required. Instead, the Arizona Supreme Court looked at the violations of the statutes on their face to invalidate the election. “We therefore hold that a showing of fraud is not a necessary condition to invalidate absentee balloting,” the court stated. “It is sufficient that an express non-technical statute was violated, and ballots cast in violation of the statute affected the election.”
Read the rest of the article at The Arizona Sun Times