A lawsuit from Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake claims more than 300,000 illegal votes were counted amid “clear violations of federal and state law.”
The legal filing seeks court intervention following the 2022 midterm elections, during which numerous anomalies and irregularities plagued Arizona’s election systems, sparking concerns over gross negligence and intentional malfeasance.
To prevent legal ballots from being lost or illegal ballots from being added, Arizona law (ARS § 16-621) requires a chain of custody for all election equipment and ballots from early voting through the completion of provisional voting tabulation. As the filing states, Maricopa County failed to maintain the chain of custody for at least 298,942 ballots, in violation of state law.
An official who violates the state’s chain of custody requirements is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor (ARS § 16-452).
A fact-check from USA Today purportedly debunks the chain of custody claim. But, a sworn statement from an employee of Runback election Services, which handles the ballots, confirmed the lack of chain of custody, while also revealing that Maricopa County itself did now know how many early voting ballots had been retrieved from ballot drop boxes on Election Day, which also is a violation of state law.
Additionally, the lawsuit shows that more than 25,000 additional ballots were “found” after the legal deadline for accepting ballots had closed. Lake’s attorneys argue that the ballots violated chain of custody rules, meaning they were counted toward the final vote tally illegally.
More than 59 percent of Maricopa County’s voting centers had Election Day failures of ballot printers and tabulators, which had a disproportionate effect on Republican voters, as the majority of technical issues were at vote centers in heavy Republican areas.
As the lawsuit states, the result of the county’s Election Day problems was “a larger reduction in the number of votes cast for Lake, a much smaller reduction in the number of votes cast for [Katie] Hobbs, and a highly improper relative advantage created for Hobbs.”
The filing continues:
Maricopa County did not experience these kinds of widespread breakdowns in the days leading up [to] Election Day, or during the limited testing performed on the election equipment. The sudden widespread appearance of preventable breakdowns on Election Day, a day on which it was known that the electorate would be heavily weighted toward voters favoring Lake, was an outcome materially and adversely [sic] and Maricopa indicates that the problems were intentionally caused.
Clay Parikh — a cyber expert who spent nine years performing security tests on voting systems, and who has contracted with NATO, NASA, and multiple agencies within the U.S. Department of Defense — testified that some components of the voting system used in the 2022 midterm election were not certified.
“The use of one of these uncertified components violates Arizona law,” Parikh testified in a sworn statement. “There were numerous procedural violations that can only be categorized as intentional.”
Parikh noted that between 31 percent and 59 percent of voting centers were impacted by technical breakdowns, stating that “widespread failure of this magnitude occuring could not arise absent intentional misconduct.” He added that the explanations given to the public and media for what caused the technical issues were not correct.
The lawsuit says Parikh’s findings warrant an “immediate and full forensic audit,” which Lake’s legal team has requested.
Lake’s attorneys are also petitioning the court for a trial of all disputed factual issues, an order removing invalid ballots from the final vote count, an order decertifying the 2022 gubernatorial election, and an injunction requiring Maricopa County to re-conduct the election in conformity with state law and under the direction of a special master.