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Lake's expert witness: Misprinted ballots would ultimately have been counted

Lake's team alleged that a ballot-sizing misprint disrupted the election, but Lake-hired analyst Clay Parikh says the ballots would have been counted in the end.
Credit: AP
FILE - Kari Lake, Arizona Republican candidate for governor, speaks to supporters at the Republican watch party in Scottsdale, Ariz., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Lake, the defeated Republican candidate for Arizona governor, has filed a public records lawsuit demanding Maricopa County hand over a variety of documents related to the election. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — Kari Lake has two days to convince the Maricopa County Superior Court that her election loss was caused by outside interference. On the first day of the trial, an information security officer hired by Lake's team said that misprinted ballots would have been duplicated and counted.

Lake needs to prove that a specific Maricopa County employee interfered with ballot printers, and that lost enough votes to cost her the election. She also needs to prove that alleged ballot drop-offs cost her the elections.

Lake's legal team originally planned to call Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs as a witness. Lake even boasted on Twitter that Katie Hobbs will take the witness stand

On Tuesday, Lake's attorneys withdrew their subpoena of Katie Hobbs, a spokesperson with Hobbs' office confirmed. Hobbs had no connection to the two allegations that made it to trial. 

A subpoena for Maricopa County Board Chairman Bill Gates to stand as a witness was also withdrawn on Wednesday morning.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer took the stand on Wednesday, appearing in court virtually from what he says is his first vacation in four years. 

Lake's attorney and former Cyber Ninjas lawyer, Bryan Blehm, ended his questioning after trying to raise doubts about ballot tracking based on Richer's tweeted estimates.

Northrop Grumman information security officer Clay Parikh, who recently spoke at Mike Lindell's "Moment of Truth" event, was called to testify regarding an analysis he was hired to conduct of Maricopa County Election Day operation.

Parikh said that he'd observed several ballots being printed with a 19-inch width setting on 20-inch width paper. According to Parikh, that error would cause that ballot to not be tabulated at any tabulator, whether at a Vote Center or the central election office.

However, the County pointed out that this error may have been caused by a "shrink to fit" setting on the printer. Parikh said under cross-examination that the misprinted ballots that he saw would have been duplicated and ultimately counted anyway.

Late Monday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson ordered a two-day trial Wednesday and Thursday on two of the ten claims Lake made in contesting Democrat Katie Hobbs' 17,000-vote victory.

RELATED: Judge orders trial this week in Kari Lake's challenge to Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs' victory

Both claims allege intentional misconduct by elections workers that cost Lake the governor’s race. Lake’s eight other claims were dismissed. 

Counts 2 and 4 in Lake's complaint were the only ones that survived the judge's initial scrutiny. 

In one count, Lake alleges printers malfunctioned on Election Day, leaving them susceptible to hacking. Additionally, she claimed the printers malfunctioned because of an “intentional action.” 

Judge Thompson ruled that Lake must show at trial that the printer malfunctions were intentional and directed to affect the election results and that those actions directly affected the outcome.

The second count deals with the ballot chain of custody. In her lawsuit, Lake alleges there were violations of the chain of custody of ballots. 

Judge Thompson handed Lake's legal team a high bar to meet.

Following the two-day trial, Judge Thompson will have until Dec. 27 to issue his ruling.That would allow for an emergency court appeal, just six days before the swearing in of Arizona's new executive officers.   

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