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Arizona’s elections chief seeks investigation into Kari Lake tweet

Arizona’s secretary of state, Adrian Fontes, said a conspiratorial tweet from failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake could possibly constitute a felony.


Arizona’s failed Republican candidate for governor, Kari Lake, ran a campaign founded on former President Donald Trump’s lies about election fraud.

Even before Election Day, Lake refused to say whether she would accept the legitimacy of the vote if she lost. Since her loss in November, she has blasted her baseless claims about the election through her social media channels and to anyone within earshot, and that may have just landed her in some trouble. 

On Monday, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes sent a letter urging state Attorney General Kris Mayes to investigate a Jan. 23 tweet from Lake that appears to show images of signatures from Arizona election ballots. 

Citing Arizona law, Fontes’ letter notes a provision stating that “records containing a voter’s signature … shall not be accessible or reproduced by any other person other than the voter.”

“Therefore, the Secretary of State’s Office is referring this matter to you for further investigation and possible prosecution,” the letter reads. Lake did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Lake’s tweet suggested the signatures were fraudulent and claimed “Senate testimony” out of Arizona had “confirmed” that nearly 40,000 ballots were counted illegally. Lake also wrote: “I think all the ‘Election Deniers’ out there deserve an apology.”

Garrett Archer, a data analyst with the local ABC affiliate in Phoenix who previously served as senior elections analyst at the Arizona secretary of state’s office, tweeted that the signatures — which were from 2020 — didn’t confirm anything nefarious. He pointed out that officials verify signatures in more than one way.

As The Arizona Republic noted, the Senate testimony Lake mentioned came from an activist who works with a right-wing group called We the People AZ Alliance. The group fiercely backed the phony election “audit” that Republicans held in Arizona after the 2020 election, and it’s closely linked to election-denying conspiracy theorists like Trump crony Mike Lindell.

According to reporting by the Arizona Mirror, the activist, Shelby Busch, used her testimony to raise conspiratorial claims that Lake has already seen batted down by courts, including that tens of thousands of Republican voters were disenfranchised because of systemic issues on Election Day. 

Lake may think her tweet’s content warrants an apology. Fontes is asking whether it warrants an indictment.