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Trumpian Arizona candidates lose nonsensical bid to ban voting machines

A judge rejected Kari Lake and Mark Finchem's lawsuit seeking to ban electronic voting machines ahead of the midterm elections.


A federal judge on Friday tossed out a ridiculous election lawsuit filed by far-right, conspiracy theory-pushing candidates in Arizona.

Kari Lake and Mark Finchem — Arizona's Republican nominees for governor and secretary of state, respectively — sued in April to ban the use of electronic voting machines ahead of the midterm elections, citing baseless claims of potential fraud. The lawsuit named Katie Hobbs, Arizona's Democratic secretary of state and Lake’s opponent in the gubernatorial race, as a defendant, along with several county election officials. 

The far-fetched case was an extension of former President Donald Trump’s lies claiming widespread voter fraud cost him the 2020 election. And it stood no chance for success.  

In their lawsuit, Lake and Finchem claimed:

Electronic voting machines cannot be deemed reliably secure and do not meet the constitutional and statutory mandates to guarantee a free and fair election. The use of untested and unverified electronic voting machines violates the rights of Plaintiffs and their fellow voters and office seekers, and it undermines public confidence in the validity of election results.

There’s no evidence backing any of those claims. And, legally speaking, the words “untested and unverified” mean nothing here. Arizona, in fact, already has a committee in place that examines voting machines for potential malfunctions. Even a right-wing firm Arizona Republicans commissioned to examine the 2020 election results concluded there was no evidence voter fraud influenced the outcome of any race

In so many words, U.S. District Judge John Tuchi told Lake and Finchem their claims were trash. 

“While the court agrees with plaintiffs that the right to vote is precious, and should be protected, plaintiffs lack standing because they have articulated only conjectural allegations of potential injuries,” Tuchi wrote in his ruling. 

On top of being anti-democratic, Lake and Finchem’s lawsuit would have been completely impractical if it had succeeded. And it would have worsened issues Trump-loving conservatives claim to abhor. 

As The Associated Press noted in its report on Friday’s ruling:

Election administrators testified that hand counting dozens of races on millions of ballots would require an extraordinary amount of time, space and manpower, and would be less accurate. They said extensive reviews have confirmed that vote-counting machines in Maricopa County are not connected to the internet and haven’t been hacked.

On election night in 2020, Trump, his campaign and many of his surrogates complained about the time it took for results to be tabulated. And they falsely claimed a delayed count suggested something nefarious was going on. Lake and Finchem’s idea that votes be cast via paper ballot and counted by hand would prolong the wait for some results by days — if not weeks or months. 

So why did the two candidates push a lawsuit that was doomed to fail, which would’ve exacerbated issues they claim to prioritize? 

Because their post-2020 anti-voting crusade isn’t rooted in fact, or even focused on things that would benefit Arizonans. It’s rooted in Trump’s sulking over his 2020 loss, and it’s singularly focused on avenging him.