Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake doubled down in a brief filed Wednesday at the state Supreme Court on her claim that there are 35,563 unaccounted-for ballots that showed up in Maricopa County’s final total in November’s election.
Last month, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed most of the trial court’s and the Arizona Court of Appeals’ rulings in favor of Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ win, but did remand Lake’s claim that signature verification laws for mail-in ballots were not followed by the county in the 2022 election to the trial court for consideration.
The court also ordered Lake to file a response to Hobbs’ and Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes’ motions that Lake be sanctioned financially for alleging in her brief “the undisputed fact that 35,563 unaccounted for ballots were added to the total of ballots at a third party processing facility.”
Vendor Runbeck Election Services scanned and processed the ballots on Election Day.
The justices concluded, “The record does not reflect that 35,563 unaccounted ballots were added to the total count. The motions for sanctions will be considered in due course.”
In a March 16 filing to the court, Lake’s legal team had said that Runbeck “scanned a total of 298,942 ballots on Election Day,” but documentation from Maricopa County only showed a total of 263,379 Election Day drop box ballots cast, “an unaccounted for discrepancy of 35,563 ballots.”
That number is significant because it exceeds Hobbs’ approximately 17,000 vote margin of victory.
In Lake’s new brief addressing the motions for sanctions, her lawyers went into further detail why they believe the 35,563 figure is accurate and asked the court to further review the issue.
“The record indisputably reflects at least 35,563 Election Day early ballots, for which there is no record of delivery to Runbeck, were added at Runbeck, and that this issue was properly raised…” Lake’s brief reads.
“Not only should Respondents’ request for sanctions be denied, but Lake respectfully requests leave of the Court to treat this response as a motion for reconsideration of the Court’s denial of review on this chain-of-custody issue,” it continues.
Lake’s legal team pointed to forms recording the total number of ballots taken in by Runbeck on Election Day and the day after versus the total number ultimately scanned by the company stating the two do not match.
“[T]he number of early ballots recorded on the Runbeck Receipt of Delivery forms dated November 8-9, 2022, totaled 263,379 ballots,” Lake’s brief reads, but Runbeck’s scan forms showed 298,942.
Arizona voters were able to drop off “early ballots” they received by mail on Election Day at vote centers. In Maricopa County those ballots were transported to Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC).
“Maricopa admitted in its answering brief on appeal that instead of counting each ballot when the secure ballot transport containers were opened at MCTEC as required by the [Election Procedure Manual], on Election Day, Maricopa simply sorted the early ballots, placed them in mail trays, and delivered them to Runbeck to be scanned and counted,” according to Lake’s brief.
“Thus, Maricopa readily admits not knowing precisely how many ballots were transferred to Runbeck on Election Day, November 8, 2022 through November 9, 2022.”
Lake concluded her brief asking the court to deny the motions for sanctions and reconsider her claim regarding a lack of chain of custody existing for the 35,563 ballots.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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