Lake refuses to admit in Arizona’s gubernatorial race she lost

PHOENIX (AP) – Refuses to concede, Kari Lake, the defeated Republican candidate for Arizona’s governor said Thursday that she is gathering lawyers and gathering evidence that voters are having trouble casting ballots on Election Day as she considers her next move.

Lake, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, traveled to the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Thursday, her campaign spokesman told The Associated Press. The Washington Post first reported that she attended a luncheon hosted by the America First Policy Institute, an advocacy group created by former Trump advisers.

In a 2 1/2-minute video, Lake mentioned not giving up in her most extensive public comments since losing the election. Before the election, she had refused to say she would concede if she lost the race to Democrat Katie Hobbs.

“Please be assured that I have assembled the best and brightest legal team and we are exploring all options to right the many wrongs that have been done this past week,” Lake said. “I am doing everything in my power to right these wrongs.”

She pointed to long lines at some polling places that were exacerbated by problems with ballot printers at about a third of the voting centers in Maricopa County, the largest county in the state. She said the problems disenfranchised voters who could not wait at the polls.

“What happened to Arizonans on Election Day is inexcusable,” she said.

County election officials said all ballots were counted and voters could go to any polling place in the county, many of which had little or no lines, with wait times posted online.

Election officials traced the problems to a printer setting that sometimes led to ballots being printed too lightly for on-site tabulators to read. They said they used the same settings in the August primary and for pre-election testing and there were no widespread problems.

About 17,000 ballots were not scanned at precinct-based vote counters and were instead placed in a collection box to be counted by more sophisticated machines at county election headquarters. The collection box has become known as “box three”.

Bill Gates, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, has blamed state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward and other prominent Republicans for causing delays and long lines because they told their supporters not to use Box Three.

“This team, we’ve accepted our responsibility in this,” Gates said Monday. “But I’m not willing to take responsibility for problems caused by others. And it’s clear to me that those lines were longer because leaders in a political party were spreading misinformation.”

Republicans asked a judge to extend polling hours because of the problems. The judge refused, saying they presented no evidence that anyone had been disenfranchised.

Democrats voted overwhelmingly via mail-in ballots. In-person polls on Election Day strongly favored the GOP because Lake and other prominent Republicans had argued it was safer, which election experts dispute.

Lake has said little since the Associated Press and other news organizations called the race for Hobbs on Monday. Late Wednesday, she posted a video featuring clips from the campaign track set to the lyrics, “I don’t want to back down.”

Her video Thursday said Hobbs, who is currently secretary of state, should have recused himself from any role in the election. The secretary of state sets up election procedures and certifies equipment, but her office does not count ballots, a task performed by the state’s 15 counties.

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