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Kari Lake gives up

Republican gubernatorial Kari Lake (left) called out Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs on Tuesday afternoon during a press event in downtown Yuma. At right is Jonathan Lines, Yuma County Supervisor.
Chris McDaniel/KAWC
Republican Kari Lake (left) during a 2022 press event in downtown Yuma. At right is Jonathan Lines, Yuma County Supervisor.

By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- Kari Lake has given up on her efforts to get access to ballot envelopes she has argued were key in her bid to overturn the 2022 election results.
In a brief filing Monday, Bryan Blehm, her attorney, withdrew his notice that he intends to appeal the November ruling that rejected her claim that she was entitled to see them.
Blehm provided no explanation. Messages to both his office and Lake's current campaign for U.S. Senate were not immediately returned.
Monday's action puts to rest, at least for the time being, the question of whether the envelopes used to return early ballots -- and the signatures on them -- are subject to public disclosure.
But while Lake has given up, her allies have not.
There is still a pending case against Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer filed by We The People Alliance demanding access. And that group, which actually is organized as a political action committee, claims to have something that Lake does not: the special privileges of being a "reportorial agency'' which it says allows it to see records that cannot be shown to others.
No date has been set for a trial in that case.
Lake's decision to drop her case comes months after Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah not only rejected her claims but derided her for insisting that allowing her to see them would provide the proof she needs to show she really didn't lose the 2022 gubernatorial race to Democrat Katie Hobbs.
"The broad right of electoral participation outweighs the narrow interests of those who would continue to pick at the machinery of democracy,'' the judge wrote. And he chided Lake for trying to get access to voter signatures -- something he said most people regard as private -- in what has been her more than year-long effort to void her 17,117-vote loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs.
"Ms. Lake regards the electoral process much like villagers in the famous fable regarding the goose that laid the golden eggs, except that her goose failed to lay the egg she expected,'' Hannah wrote of her loss. And with that loss, he said, Lake insists that something must have gone wrong.
"If only she could cut open the electoral process and examine each of its 1.3 million pieces, she says, she would be able to figure out what happened and show that the prize has been there waiting for her all along,'' the judge said.
In his ruling, Hannah acknowledged that, strictly speaking the envelopes are public records.
But he said what also has to be considered is whether disclosure might lead to "substantial and irreparable private or public harm." And in this case he cited testimony by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer that disclosure "would create election integrity issues and depress voter participation.''
That, Hannah said, coupled with specific restrictions enacted by lawmakers on voter registration records, trumps the request of the failed Republican gubernatorial candidate.
Lake was not pleased with the initial ruling.
"The judge ruled that while these records are public, the public has no right to see them,'' she posted on X, formerly Twitter.
"We can no longer trust or verify,'' the post continued. "Corrupt election officials are allowed to handle the people's business in back rooms knowing the judiciary will not hold them accountable.''
Hannah said there's a legitimate reason to shield the envelopes and the information on them, including both a signature and a phone number, from public scrutiny. And it comes down to whether that would undermine voter confidence.
On X and Threads: @azcapmedia