Kari Lake’s bombshell goes pffft

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Kari Lake’s trial is over. The Big Reveal about Arizona’s election is, well …. revealed.

Turns out there was no bombshell evidence proving that some nefarious soul over at Maricopa County schemed up a plan to rob Lake of victory.

There wasn’t even a small firecracker. Not even a party popper.

There was just Lake’s attorney, clinging to a theory that somebody shrunk the ballots to cause Election Day mayhem and cost Lake the election.

“This is about trust,” Lake’s attorney Kurt Olsen said, in his closing argument. “It’s about restoring people’s trust.”

Team Lake failed to prove either count

Actually, according to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson’s order, it was about bringing evidence that shows someone intentionally caused the county’s ballot-on-demand printers to malfunction – and that, as a result of that, enough “identifiable” votes were lost to change the outcome of the election.

And it was about whether the Republican-run county intentionally played fast and loose with the rules that require them to keep track of early ballots, allowing Democrat Katie Hobbs to come away with the win.

Key facts:Behind the claims in Kari Lake’s election challenge

Team Lake didn’t even come close on either count.

Instead, her attorneys offered:

  • A whistleblower from Runbeck Elections Services, the county’s election contractor, who didn’t testify but instead avowed to a Lake investigator that she saw fellow employees bring in 50 early ballots of family members and illegally add them to the vote total. Lake lost to Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs by 17,117 votes.

  • A partisan pollster calling himself the “People’s Pundit” – a guy whose polling firm, Big Data Poll, scored an F rating from the poll analysis website FiveThirtyEight – who did an exit poll of 813 Maricopa County voters and from that somehow concluded that 15,603 to 29,257 Lake supporters didn’t vote due to Election Day problems. “I believe it was substantial enough to change the leaderboard,” Rich Baris testified.

  • Sworn declarations from 200 voters who said they were impacted by Election Day problems. But only three of them, according to the county, didn’t vote and that was their choice. Declining to wait in line or put your ballot in a secure box, to be counted later, is not evidence of disenfranchised voters.

  • And finally, a cyber security expert who testified that the county’s printers were set up to spit out 19-inch ballots on 20-inch paper – ballots that then couldn’t be counted. Except, he conceded that they would have been counted. When a ballot can’t be read by a vote center tabulator, he acknowledged it’s sent to a bipartisan board of workers that transfers the voter’s choices onto a fresh ballot so it can be tabulated.

Printer problem was a snafu, not a scheme

“If we don’t have honest elections where we decide who represents us, then we don’t have a country anymore” said Kari Lake on Dec. 22, 2022.

Scott Jarrett, the county’s co-elections director, testified on Thursday that temporary technicians dispatched on Election Day to troubleshoot problems in three vote centers accidently set the printers to shrink-to-fit, causing the vote center tabulators to reject them.

What he described was a snafu, not a scheme.

But Lake’s expert, Clay Parikh, said those 19-inch ballots turned up in ballots he inspected earlier this week from all six vote centers and thus it “could not be by accident.”

Ipso facto, a conspiracy-o.

Who knows? Maybe it would have worked in fantasyland. But here in Maricopa County, there are those bipartisan boards that make sure such ballots count. So even if there was a plot (doubtful), it was foiled when those votes were ultimately counted.

Only don’t tell Lake that. Her campaign’s Twitter account has been on fire the last two days, putting its own rather remarkable spin on trial testimony (along with regular pleas for donations). Like this fictionalized blockbuster:

“Elections director Scott Jarrett confirms that the printer setting change that led to the mass disenfranchisement of Arizona voters DID occur the morning of election day,” the Kari Lake War Room tweeted.

Judge should sanction Kari Lake for this

As for the always-aggrieved Lake, forever playing to the court of public opinion, she predictably claimed victory upon leaving the courthouse on Thursday afternoon.

“We proved without a shadow of a doubt that there was malicious intent that caused disruptions so great it changed the results of the election,” she told reporters.

Something was proved without a shadow of doubt, all right. And it should be followed up with sanctions, as a warning to candidates that they’d better come to court armed with something more than sour grapes if they want to overturn the results of an election.

If Lake had proof of a county plot to deny her her due, it certainly wasn’t offered up this week.

Opinion, speculation and outright wishful thinking? Yeah.

But actual evidence in a courtroom? No.

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kari Lake’s election trial bombshell goes bust

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