Failed Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake landed herself in hot water last week after tweeting an image of 16 voter signatures.
Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes on Monday asked Attorney General Kris Mayes to investigate whether Lake broke the law by publicly sharing voter signatures in another effort to deny the validity of the midterm election, which she lost to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs.
“Arizona statute is very clear about when and where a voter signature can be shared or replicated or reproduced, or put online or used in social media,” Tammy Patrick, chief executive for programs at the National Association of Election Administrators, told KPNX.
“The answer to all of those things basically is, ‘Never’ and ‘Not’ and ‘It can’t be,’ with very few exceptions,” explained Patrick, who formerly served as a Maricopa County elections official.
“When I read the law, it looks to me like that’s a felony,” she said.
Lake may have violated a Class 6 felony that could carry jail time. According to Arizona law, “The records containing a voter’s signature…shall not be accessible or reproduced by any person other than the voter.”
“It is my responsibility to protect Arizona voters,” Fontes said in a statement. “In keeping with my duties, I have referred this matter to the attorney general.” Mayes has not yet commented on the situation.
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However, Lake’s attorney Tim La Sota says she had a First Amendment right to post the signatures.
“Adrian Fontes selectively quotes the statute in an attempt to distort the law and smear Kari Lake in the process,” La Sota said.
“Kris Mayes should immediately say that she will have no part in this shameful, disgusting effort,” he added.
Lake’s Jan. 23 tweet included an image with 16 signatures on early ballot envelope affidavits and voter registrations from eight voters. She captioned the photo with “BOMBSHELL DISCOVERY,” and alleged that “40,000 ballots [were] illegally counted.”
Today’s Senate Testimony CONFIRMS nearly 40,000 ballots illegally counted (10% of the signatures reviewed).
I think all the “Election Deniers” out there deserve an apology. pic.twitter.com/3g2x5zgd2c
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) January 23, 2023
But according to KPNX, Lake’s claims are not substantiated, as eight of the signatures were actually from early-ballot affidavits in the 2020 presidential election and the other eight were from voter registration records.
Patrick warned of the potential dangers of Lake’s tweets to the overall election process.
“Having signatures being promoted and presented online and other places actually does great harm to the potential integrity of the outcome of an election,” Patrick told the outlet. “That’s why these laws are in place — to protect voters and protect the integrity of the system.”
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