Kari Lake took to Twitter earlier to sound the alarm on Maricopa County’s refusal to provide her legal team with public records pursuant to Arizona Statute.
Lake tweeted earlier, “Maricopa County has confirmed what we all knew to be true: Ballot signatures DO NOT MATCH.”
“This is the smoking gun,” said Lake.
Maricopa County has confirmed what we all knew to be true:
Ballot signatures DO NOT MATCH.
Election Officials brazenly HIDING EVIDENCE from us.
This is the smoking gun. Unfortunately for them, I’m not giving up — even if that means legally forcing them to hand over evidence. https://t.co/feDWyYfhNS
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) March 31, 2023
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, who is accused of hiding the records from Lake’s legal team, responded with a snarky tweet stating that Lake’s claims lack the evidence that he is keeping from her team. Leftist journalism nonprofit Arizona’s Law called Lake’s claim “unreal” despite the potential law violation by Maricopa County in hiding this evidence.
Gotta love that she simultaneously says we’re hiding evidence, but also somehow concludes (I guess without the “evidence”) that the signatures DO NOT MATCH.
Formal logic not her strong suit.
— Stephen Richer—Maricopa Cnty Recorder (prsnl acct) (@stephen_richer) March 31, 2023
Lake added that she is “not giving up — even if that means legally forcing them to hand over evidence.”
On March 25, Lake Attorney Brian Blehm sent a Public Records Request to Recorder Stephen Richer asking to inspect “all 2022 General Election Ballot Affidavit Envelopes; including mail-in, early voting and late early ballot envelopes.” Blehm added, “Given the active case, Lake v. Hobbs, is already moving on an expedited schedule and considering failure to furnish records promptly is considered a denial of access to records, my client respectfully requests that items (1), (2), and (3) above be delivered on or before Monday, March 27, 2023.”
This request is in accordance with ARS 16-168(F), which states,
Any person in possession of a precinct register or list, in whole or part, or any reproduction of a precinct register or list, shall not permit the register or list to be used, bought, sold or otherwise transferred for any purpose except for uses otherwise authorized by this section. A person in possession of information derived from voter registration forms or precinct registers shall not distribute, post or otherwise provide access to any portion of that information through the internet except as authorized by subsection I of this section. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL PRECLUDE PUBLIC INSPECTION OF VOTER REGISTRATION RECORDS AT THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY RECORDER for the purposes prescribed by this section, except that the month and day of birth date, the social security number or any portion thereof, the driver license number or nonoperating identification license number, the Indian census number, the father’s name or mother’s maiden name, the state or country of birth and the records containing a voter’s signature and a voter’s e-mail address shall not be accessible or reproduced by any person other than the voter, by an authorized government official in the scope of the official’s duties, for any purpose by an entity designated by the secretary of state as a voter registration agency pursuant to the national voter registration act of 1993 (P.L. 103-31; 107 Stat. 77), for signature verification on petitions and candidate filings, FOR ELECTION PURPOSES AND FOR NEWS GATHERING PURPOSES BY A PERSON ENGAGED IN NEWSPAPER, RADIO, TELEVISION OR REPORTORIAL WORK, OR CONNECTED WITH OR EMPLOYED BY A NEWSPAPER, RADIO OR TELEVISION STATION or pursuant to a court order. Notwithstanding any other law, a voter’s e-mail address may not be released for any purpose. A person who violates this subsection or subsection E of this section is guilty of a class 6 felony.
Because this request was made “for election purposes,” it is a perfectly lawful request, and Maricopa County should be required to follow through pursuant to public records laws.
Read the full request below:
However, Blehm was denied access to these public records by Richer, who stated that because the early ballot envelopes “contain voters’ signatures,” the denial is in accordance with ARS 16-168(F) “and in the best interest of the state.”
This is false. The Statute provides that voter signatures may be “accessible or reproduced… for election purposes.”
Is this in the best interest of the state because it will place into question the legitimacy of the state’s elections?
Read Richer’s response below:
Previously, The Gateway Pundit correspondent Jordan Conradson was denied access to the same records after making a request “for news gathering purposes by a person engaged in newspaper, radio, television or reportorial work, or connected with or employed by a newspaper, radio or television station.”
ARS16-168(F) ensures that news reporters are permitted access to “the month and day of birth date, the social security number or any portion thereof, the driver license number or nonoperating identification license number, the Indian census number, the father’s name or mother’s maiden name, the state or country of birth and the records containing a voter’s signature and a voter’s e-mail address.”
The Statute clearly provides that voter signatures may be “accessible or reproduced… for news gathering purposes.”
However, the County replied to Conradson, “we have no responsive records to your request, as ARS16-168  ensures the accuracy and integrity of the voter registration information in Arizona. In addition, ARS16-168(F)  outlines the requirements for preparing precinct registers in an electronic format and the information that must be included in such registers. News reporters are permitted to access certain voter information, such as voter’s name, address, party, and voting history. However, the month and date of the voter’s birth date, SSN, driver’s license, voter signature, and email address are considered confidential. Therefore, they cannot be released to you unless our office is presented with a court order.”
The Statute does not limit news reporters to only the voter’s name, address, party, and voting history, as the County claims.
Subsequent requests to view unredacted voter registration records with voter signatures were ignored by the County, which offered almost identical responses to each request.
What is the County hiding from reporters and the courts?
The Gateway Pundit will provide updates on potential legal action by Lake’s team to obtain these records.