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Kari Lake, the losing candidate in the race for Arizona Governor, called for jailing election officials who oversaw her defeat.
In a speech to young conservatives, Lake said Maricopa County officials are “crooks” who “need to be locked up”.
The remarks are the latest in a long line of lies and outlandish claims from the former news reporter turned gubernatorial hopeful. Lake exited her decades-long career as an Arizona newscaster after she began spurring COVID and election conspiracy theories. Once a staunch supporter and donor to Barack Obama, Kari Lake pledged allegiance to Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
In her campaign launch last year, Lake fully espoused the debunked falsehoods of the 2020 election. She repeatedly called the election “stolen” and even refused to state that she would certify the state’s results in 2024 if Trump lost again.
The calls to jail election officials are not new to Lake either. While on the campaign trail with Trump, Lake called for Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state and her opponent in the race for Governor, to be imprisoned as well. For Lake, it was a crime for Hobbs to certify the results of a free and fair election.
Lake’s ongoing incendiary rhetoric and court challenges come after issues with balloting machines plagued Election Day voting in Maricopa County. Roughly 60 of the more than 220 machines across the county were experiencing technical difficulties. The machines were failing to print dark enough markings on the ballots, the New York Times reported. As a result, the voting process was slowed and wait times to cast a ballot were hours long.
Maricopa County officials assured, however, that the issues were resolved and that no registered voter was denied the opportunity to cast a ballot.
Voting problems in Arizona only highlight centuries of disenfranchisement of Black voters and voters of color.
The outcry from Republicans over the long wait times was swift. Some, including Lake, have used it to further claim the 2022 election was stolen.
However, long wait lines at polling places is not a new phenomenon. During the 2020 election in Georgia, voters were often having to wait hours to cast their ballot. The issues disproportionately affected communities of color, with one study finding wait times nearly 9 times longer in Black communities than in White communities. States across the South have seen significant increases in the numbers of voters assigned to polling places in Black communities.
As issues of long waits at polling places begin to affect Whiter, more conservative voters, Republicans have begun to take notice.
After a narrow stinging defeat, Kari Lake continues pushing wild and unfounded claims of fraud to overturn the election. National exit polls suggest Black and Latino voters overwhelmingly casted their ballots in favor of Hobbs. Any attempt to change the outcome of the election would disproportionately disenfranchise these voters.
As the state moves toward the January 5th inauguration of Governor-elect Katie Hobbs, concerns about potential violence are growing. It’s been less than two years since the lies about a stolen election in 2020 lead to the attack on the Capitol. Some fear the incendiary rhetoric from Kari Lake and others in this election could help spur the same.