Attorney Ryan Heath filed a lawsuit last week in the Arizona Supreme Court against Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson over his ruling in Kari Lake’s election trial.
The petition was filed by Ryan Heath, who founded The Gavel Project, a nonprofit organization that describes its work as “peacefully fighting for civil liberties on behalf of victims suffering from the abuses of woke ideologues.”
Heath’s petition requests that Judge Peter A. Thompson vacate his dismissal of Lake’s election contest and issue an order removing Hobbs, who has already been sworn in as Arizona’s governor, from office.
This is separate from Kari Lake’s ongoing lawsuit, which she says will go to the Supreme Court sooner or later.
Read Ryan Heath’s full lawsuit here.
Breaking Digest reported yesterday The Arizona Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite consideration of Kari Lake’s lawsuit which alleges that the 2022 midterm election was flawed.
The Court agreed to hear her case on the merits.
Kari joined Steve Bannon’s War Room yesterday to give this update and explain more about her legal battle.
Judge Peter Thompson dismissed the lawsuit on Christmas Eve, despite the evidence of massive voter disenfranchisement targeting Republicans and obviously false testimony by County Elections officials.
The Arizona Sun Times reported:
Ryan Heath, an attorney who started The Gavel Project to engage in lawfare against woke ideology, has filed suit against the judge who dismissed Kari Lake’s election lawsuit. Submitted on Monday, the writ of mandamus demands that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson vacate his ruling and award the election to Lake.
Heath told The Arizona Sun Times he doesn’t really know where Thompson came up with the high bar he required Lake’s attorneys to prove in order to overturn the election. Thompson required showing by clear and convincing evidence that the misconduct was intentional and meant to change the election, was performed by one of the appropriate people in charge, and that it changed the election.
Heath said this was the wrong standard. He added the judge should have relied on Reyes v. Cuming, a 1997 Arizona case involving similar circumstances, where signatures on the envelopes were not compared to the voter registration list, which violated a non-technical statute.
Heath’s writ of mandamus, which is a type of lawsuit seeking to order a public official to do their job, focused on the problems with signature verification. He reviewed the minimal amount of time signature verification workers were given to compare signatures on each ballot envelope with the signatures in the system. He argued that “it was physically and mathematically impossible for them to have engaged in the statutorily mandated task of verifying signatures.”
He said it would take 30 seconds to verify a signature, but the signatures were verified at a rate of one in less than a second — 0.975 seconds.
He declared, “[I]t is physically impossible for human beings to pull off any meaningful comparison with any reasonable accuracy.”
Heath included testimony from signature verification workers who reported rejection rates in the 25 to 40 percent range. One of those workers reported that instead of curing those mismatched signatures as required by A.R.S. 16-550(A), about 90 percent of them were approved anyway. Reviewers were allowed to put stickers on ballots showing they were approved with no oversight; there was no record of who placed the sticker on them.
That statute was also implicated in Reyes. Although the trial court in Reyes brushed off the statutory violations, allowing one of the candidates, Yuma County Supervisor Republican incumbent Clyde Cuming, to remain in office, the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed that decision and placed his Democratic opponent Marco Reyes in office a year later. The court stated that the “non-technical” statutes advance the constitutional goal of “setting forth procedural safeguards to prevent undue influence, fraud, ballot tampering, and voter intimidation.” The court added, “election statutes are mandatory, not ‘advisory,’ or else they would not be law at all.”
The court went on, the “purpose of A.R.S. 16-550(A) is to prevent the inclusion of invalid votes. … [t]o rule otherwise would ‘affect the result or at least render it uncertain.’” The opinion cited Miller v. Picacho Elementary School District No. 33, “Miller established that an election contestant need only show that absentee ballots counted in violation of a non-technical statute changed the outcome of the election [or rendered it ‘uncertain’]; actual fraud is not a necessary element.”
Heath noted that gubernatorial winner Katie Hobbs’ margin of victory over Lake was only 0.668982 percent, which was very similar to the margin of difference in Reyes, 0.62179 percent. In races that close, the results have often been overturned due to voter disenfranchisement, voter fraud, or other reasons.
He noted how Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer testified that “Maricopa County’s MCTEC [Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center] facility ‘received 120,000 more early ballot drop-offs on election night than the office had ever seen before.’”
Richards admitted that the number of ballots dropped off at MCTEC was not actually counted; there was merely an estimate made. Heath said there is “a large discrepancy between, on the one hand, the total number of mail-in ballot packets submitted by Maricopa County electors on Election Day that were physically processed at MCTEC and, on the other hand, the total number of mail-in ballot packets purportedly received by Runbeck.”
The lawsuit also cited violations of the U.S. and Arizona constitutions. The election violated the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause since “all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.” The Arizona Constitution has a similar clause, including the Privileges and Immunities Clause. It states that “no law shall be enacted granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations.”
Additionally, Article II Section 1 of the Arizona Constitution provides that “[a]ll elections shall be free and equal.” Heath contends that the Equal Protection Clause was violated due to improper counting of many of the mail-in ballots. He cited Chavez v. Brewer, which held that “Arizona’s constitutional right to a ‘free and equal’ election is implicated when votes are not properly counted,” and ruled that one need only “establish that a significant number of votes cast [in the challenged manner] will not be properly recorded or counted.”
This level of violation necessitates strict scrutiny by the court, Heath argued, citing various case laws. The government can only overcome that scrutiny by showing no other viable options for signature verification, which “is simply an impossible burden for Maricopa County to meet.” There were many other ways the county could have verified the signatures accurately.
Heath asked for an order removing Hobbs from office and requiring Thompson to vacate his decision. He gave the court multiple options for determining the outcome of the election, either by invalidating some of the dubious ballots or calling for a new election. He demanded that Maricopa County officials personally pay for any new election as punitive damages.
This isn’t the first time Heath has sued a judge. He filed a lawsuit against Maryland Circuit Court Judge Robert Kershaw over his role in dealing with a transgender teenager who ended up gang raped. Heath’s Gavel project crowdfunds attorneys around the country to “fight unethical government and employer mandates and protect the freedom of Americans, especially children.” He has been heavily active in stopping mask mandates on children. As a result of his work, opponents have filed six bar complaints against him. The California State Bar sent him a cease and desist letter telling him to stop speaking out against mask mandates at school board meetings, but he responded to them with his own cease and desist letter.