In a brief filed Wednesday at the state Supreme Court, Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake reiterated her claim that there were 35,563 unaccounted-for ballots in Maricopa County’s final tally for the November election.
The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the majority of the trial court’s and the Arizona Court of Appeals’ rulings in favor of Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’ victory last month, but remanded to the trial court for consideration Lake’s claim that signature verification laws for mail-in ballots were not followed by the county in the 2022 election.
The court also ordered Lake to file a response to Hobbs’ and Adrian Fontes’ motions that Lake be financially sanctioned for alleging in her brief “the undisputed fact that 35,563 unaccounted for ballots were added to the total number of ballots at a third party processing facility.”
On Election Day, Runbeck Election Services scanned and processed the ballots.
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.”
Significant because it exceeds Hobbs’ victory margin of approximately 17,000 votes.
In Lake’s new brief addressing the petitions for sanctions, her attorneys elaborated on why they believe the 35,563 figure to be accurate and urged the court to reconsider the matter.
“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 argued that the forms documenting the total number of ballots received by Runbeck on Election Day and the following day do not match the total number of ballots ultimately scanned by the company.
“[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.
On Election Day, Arizona voters could send off “early ballots” they received in the mail at vote centers. These ballots were transported to the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Maricopa County. (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.