The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday directed a hearing to be held “forthwith” on the signature verification issue raised by Kari Lake, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, in her election challenge against Maricopa County, Just the News (JTN) has reported.
The court also granted one sanction but denied the defendants’ request for attorneys’ fees.
This decision follows the court’s initial review of Lake’s case in March when it sent one of her seven counts back to the trial court.
In the 2022 general election, Lake lost to then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs by approximately 17,000 votes, JTN explains.
She is now suing Hobbs, who is the current Democratic governor, as well as current Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and Maricopa County election officials.
Lake seeks to invalidate the election results or be declared the winner.
The Arizona Supreme Court had remanded Lake’s claim that Maricopa County violated its signature verification policies during the 2022 election to the Maricopa County Superior Court.
The lower court awaited the high court’s decision on whether Lake must pay sanctions to Hobbs and Fontes for her allegation of 35,563 unaccounted early ballots being included in Maricopa County’s final count.
On Thursday, the state Supreme Court granted the defendants’ request for $2,000 in sanctions against Lake’s counsel for “asserting ‘the undisputed fact that 35,563 unaccounted for ballots were added to the total number of ballots,’ and for repeating such false assertions in an additional filing in this proceeding,” as stated in the ruling.
However, the court denied the defendants’ requests for attorneys’ fees as sanctions.
The court ordered “that the trial court shall forthwith conduct such proceedings as appropriate to resolve” the signature verification allegations raised by Lake.