Arizona's Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs — also her party's nominee for governor in this November's election — just proved a major point of her Republican opponent Kari Lake's case against Hobbs.
This week, under Hobbs' leadership, the AZ Department of State improperly marked roughly 6,000 voters as only being eligible to vote in federal races — and at least 1,000 voters already received the wrong absentee ballot.
In an official letter, Hobbs issued a statement on what she called "a federal only voter data error" that the secretary of state said was to blame for the ballot fumble:
"My office found and corrected a database error in concert with the Motor Vehicle Division" that supposedly caused thousands of voters to be marked for absentee ballots that only had federal races rather than the full slate of elections, specifically excluding the race for governor — in which Hobbs is running — along with other state and local offices.
🚨AZ Counties are reviewing approx. 6,000 voter records to confirm voters are correctly registered and will receive a full ballot if they're eligible. This doesn't mean 6,000 voters received the wrong ballot, but if any voters did, they will receive a corrected ballot shortly. 1/ pic.twitter.com/fUqVada9Kg— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) October 19, 2022
We will be providing more updates as they become available. The voters impacted will be contacted by their county recorder's office. Voters can check their voter registration status at https://t.co/pGe99IEoH7. 2/— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) October 19, 2022
Hobbs said that voters who received the wrong, incomplete ballots "will receive the correct ballot shortly." According to Arizona's elections director, federal-only ballots that are returned will be sequestered and the voter will have an opportunity to vote a full ballot before the end of election day.
Hobbs is, as the secretary of state, Arizona's chief election officer. On her watch — and while she's been busy campaigning (but not debating her opponent) — as many as 6,000 voters were improperly flagged as being eligible to vote only in federal races.
Meanwhile, one of Kari Lake's main critiques of Hobbs has been the "incompetent" performance as the head of Arizona's elections. Now, three weeks before election day, Hobbs' ballot "oops" just played right into Lake's campaign narrative.
Katie Hobbs is beyond incompetent. https://t.co/8XxzEDbtYg— Kari Lake (@KariLake) October 20, 2022
Hobbs maintains that the error only affected "less than a quarter of one percent of voters," but incorrect ballots floating around doesn't do anything to tamp down concerns about how Hobbs runs Arizona's elections and what other data or other errors may be detected in the less than three weeks remaining before the general election.
Lake has repeatedly called on Hobbs to step aside from managing the midterm elections in Arizona while she's running for governor. "Here we go again," Lake tweeted after the recent ballot errors were reported. "You need to recuse yourself as Secretary of State," she said tagging Hobbs. "Delegate your job to someone who actually knows how to do it," Lake added.