If you haven’t heard by now, let me break it to you: Justice and politics don’t mix. And most judges are cowards. Here’s the short version of the Kari Lake election trial – from a writer who lives and votes in dysfunctional Maricopa County.
From the get-go: The Judge lowered Lake’s 10 submitted counts to only two. Then he set the bar to an unreachable high – by insisting that proving election failures, and massive disenfranchisement of voters, was not going to be enough. Nope. He required proof that Maricopa County fully intended to sabotage our election.
And he gave Lake’s team just two days to do it.
In a nutshell: The judge asked Lake to demonstrate a supernatural gift of clairvoyance – the ability to get inside someone’s head and prove they did something on purpose, rather than by sheer stupidity,
Essentially, the court seemed determined to disregard the obvious: That all those machines coincidentally failing at the exact same moment, when Republican voters were coming out en masse is...well, something only folks who want to steal an election would believe.
Despite an impossible bar to reach with a tight schedule: Lake’s team presented a compelling case.
A 20-year Cyber Forensic expert – who has worked for the Federal government, and holds a top-secret security clearance – took the stand. He testified that random ballot testing revealed “Shrink to fit settings” caused tabulators to reject votes in overwhelming numbers. This is a setting, by the way, that could only be changed intentionally.
The judge wanted to know more: Were the settings altered by negligence or with malice?
He didn’t, however, want to consider that, either way, it caused polling lines to run up to 3 hours behind – disenfranchising mostly Republican voters – on election day. Or that odds are slim to none that 60 polling locations could be inadvertently changed – across the county, at the same time.
All eyes were on data expert Rich Baris when he testified his team can identify the exact location of people taking his survey – who claim they’re having difficulty voting. And when he went on to explain that’s because polling technology has greatly advanced over the years, a defense attorney was overheard whispering, “Oh, sh**.”
On the flip side: There was Maricopa County Recorder, Steven Richer, whom – I kid you not – testified via Zoom, while wearing a wrinkled t-shirt, from his vacation in Panama. In case you’re wondering if Panama extradites to the U.S., they do.
Election Director Scott Jarrett conveniently forgot to mention the shrink-to-fit issues on the witness stand. However, the very next day – likely under legal advice – he stated he knew about the problem all along. He also admitted the same thing occurred in 2018 and 2020.
There was a priceless moment as the defense condescended to investigative auditor Heather Honey, by asking if she was aware that – under Arizona law – the chain of custody issues do not make a ballot “unlawful.” And she replied with a confident smile: “The term in the law is: It’s an ‘invalid’ ballot.”
In essence, the arrogant Maricopa County legal tone went something like this: Yeah, those 300,000 ballots that were processed without the proper chain of custody? Sorry, not our problem. And the Shrink to fit “error” that caused 3-hour wait lines on November 8th? We apologize for the inconvenience. But calm down people; it’s only an election.
The trial set off even crazier alarms when, during closing arguments, the Defense gas-lit everyone by blaming voters for the audacity to cast their ballots on election day. You know: This is all your fault, you bad citizens. So, you get what you deserve.
On Christmas Eve, a decision was handed down by the court. And for those claiming the judge said Kari Lake presented no evidence of voter disenfranchisement, that is not what occurred. But he did say, she was unable to prove intent. You know – that pesky clairvoyant thing.
So, where are we now? As the case winds its way through the appeals process, please pray for justice. Pray for brave judges who won’t bow to political pressure. Pray for the millions of voters who are so discouraged they may never cast a ballot again. Pray for Kari Lake’s continued determination, in the face of corrupt opposition. Pray for Arizona – which under Hobbs's rule will inevitably enter a period of significant social and economic decline.
Pray for our great Nation. We’re going to need it.
Candy Chand is a writer who lives, and votes, in Maricopa County, AZ. She’s been interviewed on Fox & Friends, PBS, and by the New York Times. Follow her on Twitter @CandyChand11