Arizona County Certifies Elec 12/02 06:28
A rural Arizona county certified its midterm election results on Thursday,
following the orders of a judge who ruled that Republican supervisors broke the
law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by this week's deadline.
PHOENIX (AP) -- A rural Arizona county certified its midterm election
results on Thursday, following the orders of a judge who ruled that Republican
supervisors broke the law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by
this week's deadline.
Two Republicans on Cochise County's three-member board of supervisors balked
for weeks about certifying the election, even as the deadline passed on Monday.
They did not cite any problems with the election results. Rather, they say they
weren't satisfied that the machines used to tabulate ballots were properly
certified for use in elections, though state and federal election officials
have said they were.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs filed suit Monday, as did a local voter and a
group of retirees, asking a judge to force the supervisors to certify the
election, a process formally known as a canvass. Hobbs said she is required to
hold the statewide certification on Dec. 5 and by law can delay it only until
At the end of a hearing Thursday, Judge Casey McGinley ordered the
supervisors to convene within 90 minutes and to approve the election canvass by
the end of the day.
"I am not ashamed of anything I did," said Supervisor Peggy Judd, one of the
two Republicans who twice blocked certification. "And today I feel I must,
because of a court ruling and because of my own health and situations that are
going on in our life, I feel like I must follow what the judge did today."
The board's other Republican, Tom Crosby, skipped the meeting.
Two hours earlier, Supervisor Ann English, the board's lone Democrat, urged
the judge to order the board to immediately certify the election and not wait
another day. She said Crosby is trying to stage a "smackdown between the
secretary of state and the election deniers" at a meeting scheduled for Friday.
"I think it's a circus that doesn't need to have to happen," English said.
"So I've had enough. I think the public's had enough. So I'm asking for a swift
resolution of this if that's possible."
The vote allows the statewide certification to go forward as scheduled on
Hobbs, a Democrat who was elected governor in November's election, had
warned that she may have to certify statewide results without numbers from
Cochise County if they aren't received in time, an outcome that could have
tipped the balance of several close races. The county's 47,000 votes went
overwhelmingly to Republicans.
The board members represented themselves in court after struggling to find
someone willing to take the cases. The elected county attorney, who normally
represents the board in legal disputes, refused to handle the cases, saying the
supervisors acted illegally. The board voted hours before the hearing to hire a
Phoenix-area attorney, but he was not able to get up to speed before the
hearing and did not inform the court he was representing the supervisors.
Days before the Nov. 8 election, the Republican supervisors abandoned plans
to hand count all ballots, which the court said would be illegal, but demanded
last week that the secretary of state prove vote-counting machines were legally
certified before they would approve the election results. On Monday, they said
they wanted to hear again about those concerns before taking a vote on
certification. A meeting is scheduled for that purpose on Friday.
There are two companies that are accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance
Commission to conduct testing and certification of voting equipment, such as
the electronic tabulators used in Arizona to read and count ballots.
Conspiracy theories surrounding this process surfaced in early 2021, focused
on what appeared to be an outdated accreditation certificate for one of the
companies that was posted online. Federal officials investigated and reported
that an administrative error had resulted in the agency failing to reissue an
updated certificate as the company remained in good standing and underwent
audits in 2018 and in early 2021.
Officials also noted federal law dictates the only way a testing company can
lose certification is for the commission to revoke it, which did not occur.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Phoenix sanctioned lawyers who represented
Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, the defeated Republican candidates for governor and
secretary of state, respectively, in a lawsuit seeking to require hand counting
of all ballots.
Judge John Tuchi, a Barack Obama appointee, agreed with lawyers for Maricopa
County, who argued the lawsuit was based on frivolous information, and ordered
the lawyers to pay the county's legal fees.
The lawyers "made false, misleading, and unsupported factual assertions" in
their lawsuit, Tuchi wrote. He said the court will not condone lawyers
"furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust" in the
The lawyers for Lake and Finchem, including well-known Harvard Law School
professor Alan Dershowitz, did not respond to a request for comment from The
Associated Press. They told the court that their claims were "legally sound and
supported by strong evidence."