One of the most baffling results of the November elections was the defeat — so far, at least — of Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
The fiery former television news anchor endorsed by former President Donald Trump had a comfortable lead in pre-election polling, yet apparently lost to the state’s unappealing and uninspiring Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
A video posted to social media on Sunday could help explain it.
In the video, a woman who described herself as a 20-year-veteran of the military literally broke down in tears as she talked about the number of voters she watched leaving a polling station thanks to technical problems — problems that clearly benefited the woman who was in charge of running the election in the first place.
Hobbs, in her capacity as secretary of state, was responsible for the election’s administration, and despite being one of the candidates, refused to recuse herself.
Throughout the campaign, Hobbs appeared terrified of her rival and repeatedly refused to agree to a debate. Asked for an explanation during an October interview with Phoenix station KTVK-TV, she claimed that Lake was “only interested in creating a spectacle.” At the time, it seemed no one was buying her excuse.
Ahead of the election, the RealClearPolitics average of polls in the race showed Lake ahead by 3.5 percent.
After election officials took a week to count votes, which only added to the increasing mistrust over the results, Hobbs was declared the winner.
On Election Day, there were widespread reports of malfunctioning tabulation machines at voting locations throughout Maricopa County, the biggest county in the Grand Canyon state.
Bill Gates, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said that machines failed to accept approximately 20 percent of ballots, according to The Wall Street Journal. Voters were instructed to complete their ballots and place them in a secure drop box. They were told their votes would be counted later at a central tabulation center.
Gates assured voters, according to the Journal, “Everyone is still getting to vote; no one is being disenfranchised. This is a technical issue and we have a redundancy for it.”
With memories of Maricopa County’s forensic audit of the 2.1 million votes cast in the November 2020 election fresh in their minds, many voters were concerned their ballots wouldn’t be counted once placed in the drop box.
Although Gates and his fellow board members are Republicans, they refused to cooperate with the auditors of the 2020 election and went so far as to defy subpoenas for election records.
Accidental or deliberate, given this history, the voting machine issues on Election Day were and remain to be eyed with suspicion by many Arizonans.
Republican Abe Hamadeh, who lost the state’s attorney general race, posted an emotional Election Day video of the self-described veteran who said she had been waiting to cast her ballot for three hours.
During that time, she said, she watched many voters arrive at the precinct only to leave without having cast their vote. The machines, which had worked properly when tested the previous day, weren’t working when it mattered.
She understood that American citizens were being disenfranchised.
Through her tears, she said, “I’m at the Sunnyside Multicultural Center. I’m here voting. Oh, I was trying to vote. I got here 5 a.m., it is 8 a.m. I’m gonna be working from my car because I’m waiting on the machines to be fixed.
“I have watched so many cars pull up and drive away, pull up and drive away.
“I met a young person in line, his first time voting. He couldn’t vote though, because the machines are broken.
“I did 20 years in the military. I don’t tell myself to be anybody’s hero. But this is – this is not right y’all, this is not right. There were old people standing in line and this isn’t right. We’ve got to do better. People should be able to vote.”
— Abe Hamadeh (@AbrahamHamadeh) December 11, 2022
On Friday, Lake filed a 70-page lawsuit against Katie Hobbs and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for their alleged mishandling of the problems that occurred on Election Day.
The lawsuit begins by citing a Rasmussen poll of likely U.S. voters released on Nov. 30 about the effect of countywide voting machine malfunctions on Election Day.
Voters were asked if they agreed or disagreed with Lake’s statement that, “This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. This is about our sacred right to vote, a right that many voters were, sadly, deprived of on November 8th.”
Seventy-two percent of those polled agreed (including 45 percent who strongly agreed) with the statement. Just 18 percent disagreed and 10 percent were unsure.
The poll asked: “Republicans in Arizona say problems with the election in Maricopa County prevented many people from voting. How likely is it that these problems affected the outcome of the Senate election in Arizona?”
A whopping 71 percent of participants said it was likely (40 percent said it was very likely) that the problems on Election Day “affected the outcome of the Senate election in Arizona.” Just 23 percent disagreed.
Clearly, the majority of participants believe the voting machine malfunctions may have disenfranchised enough voters to sway the results of the election.
According to the lawsuit, Hobbs won by a 0.67 percent margin, or 17,117 votes out of the more than 2,559,445 cast.
One thing is clear: Lake is a fighter and she will not give up easily.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.