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Arizona secretary of state requests investigation of Kari Lake over potential campaign violation

It hasn’t been a great three months for Kari Lake.

First, the far right Republican was upset in her bid for the governor in Arizona by Democrat Katie Hobbs. Ms Lake denied the legitimacy of Ms Hobbs’ victory, but her legal challenges went nowhere. Now, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes believes Ms Lake may have committed a campaign violation for disclosing of voter signatures on Twitter.

Last week, Ms Lake tweeted a graphic promoting an unsubstantiated claim that nearly 40,000 ballots in Arizona were counted illegally.

The graphic features what appear to be images of sixteen different voter signatures — and that, according to Mr Fontes, may be a violation of the state law prohibiting any voter’s signature from being “accessible or reproduced by any person other than the voter.” Additionally, Mr Fontes is having state Attorney General Kris Mayes investigate and “take appropriate enforcement action,” local television station KPNX reported.

If Ms Lake is found to have violated the law, her punishment could include jail time. Ms Lake is not the first Arizona politician to publicly present voter signatures in recent years; KPNX also reported that State Senator Sonny Borrelli also presented voter signatures as part of his election denial efforts in 2021.

“Adrian Fontes selectively quotes the statute in an attempt to distort the law and smear Kari Lake in the process,” Ms Lake’s attorney Tim La Sota said in a statement to KPNX. “Kris Mayes should immediately say that she will have no part in this shameful, disgusting effort.”

Mr Fontes and Ms Mayes are both Democrats, who, like Ms Hobbs, narrowly defeated their Republican opponents in November. Ms Mayes won her election over Abraham Hamadeh by fewer than 300 votes in one of the closest statewide election in Arizona history.

Ms Lake, who lost her election by more than 17,000 votes, has persisted in her baseless claims that the election was stolen from her even after the Arizona Supreme Court rejected her request to hear her challenge to the results for a second time last week.

She shares her fervent election denialism with staunch ally former President Donald Trump, who called into a rally she held last Sunday to tell the crowd that she would ultimately win the election and take Ms Hobbs’ place as governor even though the Democrat was sworn in weeks ago.

Since her defeat in November, Ms Lake has remained active in far right politics and is considered a potential running mate for Mr Trump should he emerge victorious from the 2024 Republican presidential primary.