Kari Lake Referred For Criminal Investigation By AZ Sec Of State


Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, has referred Kari Lake for criminal investigation by state Attorney General Kris Mayes, another Democrat.

The issue concerns Lake posting copies of Arizona voters’ signatures online, where she claimed the materials were evidence of mishandling the 2022 elections — although at least some of the signatures included were dated in the images she herself posted as from 2020. “Ms. Lake, These signatures are from 2020,” Arizona journalist Garrett Archer noted on Twitter. “They use recent affidavit envelopes to verify as well. That way if the MVD signature comes across wrong they have in-house to compare to. So this doesn’t confirm anything.” (“MVD” refers to what seems to be Arizona’s version of the DMV, and he is discussing the process of election workers verifying the signatures submitted with a given year’s mail-in ballots.)

Although reviewing materials from elections is sometimes permitted, it is generally illegal for any individual other than the individual voter themselves to make local voters’ information public as Lake did. What’s covered explicitly includes voters’ signatures. “The protections afforded by this subsection prohibit posting any information derived from voter registration forms or precinct registers to the internet, and under no circumstance may a person other than the voter or an statutorily authorized person reproduce a voter’s signature,” Fontes noted to Mayes.

Both Fontes and Mayes won their current roles in last year’s midterms and now serve alongside Katie Hobbs, the Democratic candidate who defeated Lake in the Arizona governor’s race. Fontes also noted that violating the portions of Arizona law he referenced constitute a class 6 felony offense. It all seems pretty straightforward. Lake isn’t any of the people whose personal info she posted online.

The core of Lake’s arguments, that systematic problems meant the purported win seen by Hobbs was actually rubbish, remains unsupported by the basic facts. Lake has cited data purportedly showing ballots in Maricopa County were rejected by scanners at in-person polling places on Election Day late last year a total of some 217,000 times. Among the issues with Lake trying to use that number to prove anything is that it reflects not the number of individual ballots rejected but literally just the number of times somebody tried to place a ballot into a scanner without that attempt succeeding. If someone accidentally put their ballot in the machine off-center, that would count. If someone tried to get their ballot scanned 12 times because the machine wasn’t working, that would count. It’s not remotely conclusive. Lake, though, is still in court challenging her loss. She has now lost, twice, in attempts to get the Arizona state Supreme Court to take up her challenge before lower-level proceedings further play out.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons