Former President Donald Trump’s far-right agenda keeps running into the pesky problem of free and fair elections.
Nearly two years after being impeached for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to stop the certification of his re-election loss, Trump on Monday called for former GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake to “be installed” as the state’s governor, despite the fact that she lost to Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs by more than 17,000 votes.
“Massive numbers of “BROKEN” voting machines in Republican Districts on Election Day. Mechanics sent in to “FIX” them made them worse. Kari had to be taken to a Democrat area, which was working perfectly, to vote,” Trump posted on Truth Social early Monday. “Her opponent ran the Election. This is yet another criminal voting operation – SO OBVIOUS.”
“Kari Lake should be installed Governor of Arizona,” Trump added.
Lake, Trump, and other Republicans have falsely claimed that Arizona’s election was rigged and that GOP voters were disenfranchised due to printer issues and long lines in Maricopa County, which affected both Democratic and GOP-leaning areas of the state’s largest county.
“Maricopa County just couldn’t wait to certify their botched election,” Lake said in a video to supporters Monday. Lake filed a public records lawsuit against Maricopa County officials last week, citing “instances of misprinted ballots, the commingling of counted and uncounted ballots, and long lines discouraging people from voting.”
“Arizona, America: If we do not stand up and speak up right now about the most dishonest election in the history of Arizona, I truly fear for our future,” Lake said in the Monday video.
Most Arizona counties, including Maricopa, voted to certify their election results by the legally mandated Nov. 28 deadline. Maricopa’s Board of Supervisors is controlled by Republicans, and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer is also a Republican.
Officials in the GOP stronghold of Cochise County voted to delay certification Monday—even though there was no question about the results there—due to a dubious claim that the voting machines used in Arizona aren’t properly certified and thus the election is invalid.
One Republican Cochise County supervisor who voted to delay certification, Peggy Judd, admitted to the New York Times that the delay was meant as a protest against Maricopa County, saying the voting machine claim is “the only thing we have to stand on.”
“Our small counties, we’re just sick and tired of getting kicked around and not being respected,” Judd told the Times.
Arizona governors are elected by statewide popular vote, not an electoral college system or the preference of local officials in “small counties.”
Hobbs’ office filed a lawsuit against Cochise County Monday after supervisors refused to certify the results. Hobbs’ office said in the complaint that the supervisors’ “inaction not only violates the plain language of the statute, but also undermines a basic tenet of free and fair elections in this state: ensuring that every Arizonan’s voice is heard.”
In Republican-leaning Mohave County, which delayed certification last week, county officials certified their results Monday, though two reportedly claimed they were doing so “under duress.”
Republicans have also charged that Hobbs rigged her own election as the Secretary of State. But there’s no evidence of this being the case, and it’s not unusual for candidates to run for governor while serving as their state’s top election official; Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was first elected in 2018 while serving as his state’s Secretary of State, while Trump ally Kris Kobach lost the 2018 Kansas gubernatorial election while serving as Secretary of State.
While Lake has yet to concede the election, GOP Gov. Doug Ducey has acknowledged that Hobbs won, and Hobbs is preparing to take office in January. Hobbs tweeted last week that she’d met with Ducey at the governor’s office “to discuss the peaceful transfer of leadership in Arizona.”
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