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OPINION

Meet the Young Attorney Who May Have Saved Kari Lake’s Election Challenge

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Courtesy of Marissa Forte

Ryan Heath is a 31-year-old new attorney in Arizona who started The Gavel Project, an “anti-woke nonprofit” that fights for “civil liberties on behalf of victims suffering from the abuses of woke ideologues.” He’s filed and threatened lawsuits over masks, CRT, and mutilating children in the name of “affirmative care.”

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In January, unlike most “conservative” attorneys who run from cases involving voter disenfranchisement of Republicans, due to the risk of being disbarred by left-wing dominated state bars, Heath jumped right in and sued the judge who dismissed Kari Lake’s election contest with a writ of mandamus. He demanded that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson vacate his ruling and award the election to Lake. 

Heath relied on Reyes v. Cuming, a 1997 Arizona case involving similar circumstances, where voters’ signatures on the ballot envelopes were not compared to the voter registration list, which violated a non-technical statute so the court held it was material. Strangely, the Reyes case was mysteriously suppressed from legal research, so it was almost impossible to find until Heath stumbled on it. 

In Reyes, the Arizona Court of Appeals 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.” Although the incumbent Yuma County Supervisor had been in office a year after the contested election, the court booted him out of office and replaced him with the challenger. 

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Predictably, a judge ducked Heath’s lawsuit, ruling that he should have filed it instead as an amicus curiae brief in Lake’s case, which Heath complied with and did along with Alexander Haberbush of the Lex Rex Institute. In response to the lower courts’ contention that procedural challenges must be brought before an election, otherwise, they are barred by the doctrine of laches, Heath said in his brief that Lake had no way of knowing before the election that these violations were occurring, and they weren’t procedural violations. 

“[H]er objections regarding verification were never objections to Maricopa’s existing election procedures but, rather, objections to the fact that votes were illegally counted,” he argued. He cited case law which distinguished the doctrine of laches from barring claims about “alleged acts of misconduct that occurred prior to an election” versus “acts of alleged misconduct that occurred during the ‘voting process.’”

The Arizona Supreme Court threw out all of Lake’s arguments except that one, stating that her “signature verification challenge is to the application of the policies, not to the policies themselves,” so the doctrine of laches does not apply. They remanded it to the trial court, where the judge will need to come up with a better excuse than laches in order to dismiss the massive evidence showing voters’ signatures were not properly verified. 

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Lake said after the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling, “Three whistleblowers came forward with revelations of massive failures in the signature verification process. These whistleblowers were intimately involved in the process and they allege that Maricopa County WILLFULLY ignored law and procedure.” Dr. Walter Daugherity, a math professor at Texas A&M University, testified to the Arizona Senate Election Committee in January that he was 99.999 percent confident there were 290,644 bad signatures accepted in the election.

Since 2020, most judges have immediately thrown out election contests involving voter disenfranchisement of Republicans. Thompson didn’t even put much effort into it, merely issued a brief 10-page opinion, which was a mockery of the immense amount of evidence Lake brought in her lawsuit. He knew there was little chance he’d be reversed, since judges are terrified to rule in favor of Republicans on this issue. Where it doesn’t benefit Republicans, judges often order new elections based on merely a handful of voters being disenfranchised. 

But finally the Arizona Supreme Court has been forced to confront the mounds of evidence that continues to pile up. In Abe Hamadeh’s election contest challenging his alleged loss to Democrat Kris Mayes for Arizona Attorney General by 280 votes, the closest statewide race in Arizona’s history, he discovered well into his lawsuit that tabulators misread valid votes as undervotes in Pinal County, which reduced Mayes’ lead from 511 to 280. Then-Arizona Secretary of State Hobbs knew about the additional votes for eight days but did not inform the public or Hamadeh. Hamadeh wants the undervotes counted in other counties. 

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The longtime respected pollster Rasmussen Reports conducted an exit poll of likely Arizona voters this month, asking them how they voted in last year’s midterm election. An astounding 8% more said they voted for Lake over Hobbs, 6% more said they voted for Hamadeh over Mayes, and 1% more voted for Republican Mark Finchem for Secretary of State over Democrat Adrian Fontes, the cartel lawyer who allegedly won. Finchem is also challenging his alleged defeat in court.

Unlike some attorneys who cower when it comes to election fraud and other areas where patriots are under attack, Heath is taking the exact opposite approach. In response, the left has filed six frivolous bar complaints filed against him in two separate states.

Heath started The Gavel Project in 2021 after hearing California Governor Gavin Newsom announce that he was going to make vaccination a contingent precedent to attend school in California. Heath spent significant amounts of time traveling around California helping fight the mandate, speaking at school board meetings and training parents on sending their children to school without masks to peacefully protest. 

Last year, Heath successfully threatened litigation against Phoenix Children’s Hospital, forcing it to back down on requiring the COVID-19 jab for employees. 

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Heath says on his Substack, “My job is to stand up to bullies for those who cannot.” He reiterated what cultural commentator Matt Walsh has said, “When people publicly proclaim that your mere presence is ‘harmful’ to their existence, they are (in effect) provoking violence against you.” Heath’s work is supported by crowd source funding and he provides updates on Twitter and his Substack.

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