Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake stoked fears of mail-in ballots. Now she’s taunting officials for not counting them fast enough after a record number of people held onto their mail-in ballots until Election Day.
Lake accused election workers of deliberately slowing counts and holding back results, commenting in social media posts and in interviews on conservative news sites.
Her campaign, Kari Lake War Room, said in a tweet Friday that the Maricopa County Elections Department was creating a host of new election deniers, leaning into her refusal to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“This process is an untransparent joke,” the campaign said. “Our elections shouldn’t be like this. When @KariLake is Governor, they won’t be.”
Lake took it further, describing the counting process in interviews as “embarrassing” and compared the handling of ballots in the county to a banana republic.
“It’s simple. Stop dragging your feet & get Election Day ballot numbers out,” she tweeted Thursday.
About 290,000 mail-in ballots were dropped off at county vote centers on Election Day, surpassing the record for drop-off ballots by 70% percent.
Bill Gates, the Board of Supervisors chair, pushed back at Lake’s claims on Friday, saying staffers are putting in 18-hour days and are counting as many as 80,000 ballots per day.
“I am going to stand up for my state. We’re doing things the right way,” Gates said. “We’re not doing anything wrong at all.”
Lake’s rhetoric was amplified by other hard-line Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, who took shots at election officials’ changing timeline for completing the ballot count.
“Arizona even said ‘by the end of the week.’ — they want more time to cheat,” Trump said in a social media post Friday. “Kari Lake MUST win!”