Arizona county faces lawsuits after failure to certify 2022 election results

Cochise County Courthouse
The Cochise County Superior Courthouse shown Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Bisbee, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Ross D. Franklin/AP

Arizona county faces lawsuits after failure to certify 2022 election results

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Election officials in a rural Arizona county are gearing up for a slew of legal battles after they failed to certify the results of the 2022 midterm elections, facing criminal penalties and at least two lawsuits.

Two Republican supervisors in Cochise County, Arizona, voted to delay the county’s election results until Friday — four days after the state-mandated deadline. The vote quickly spurred court battles from state officials as they scramble to complete the statewide canvass, which requires certified results from all 15 counties before being completed.

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“It’s astounding that Cochise County officials failed to certify the election results,” Alex Gulotta, the All Voting is Local Arizona state director, said in a statement. “The refusal to certify the results is directly tied to those who would rather sow distrust in our electoral process than protect our democracy and ensure that all votes are counted.”

The delay of the statewide canvass threatens the postponement of recounts in at least two statewide elections, including the attorney general’s race, which can’t begin until results across Arizona are certified. It also hinders candidates and outside groups wishing to sue over election results, as parties can’t file lawsuits until the vote counts are certified.

Cochise County supervisors voted to delay certifying election results amid pressure from Republican leaders who wished to reject Democratic wins over GOP candidates. As a result, two county supervisors, Republicans Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd, voted to push certification to Friday until they could receive more information about concerns over ballot tabulators.

Election officials have already deemed the ballot tabulators safe and accurate to use.

The vote to delay certification prompted a number of lawsuits, one of which was filed by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who won her race to become the state’s next governor. Hobbs’s lawsuit seeks to compel the county supervisors to meet on Thursday to certify the results so that she can complete the statewide canvass before the Dec. 5 deadline.

“The Secretary of State’s Office provided supporting documentation that confirmed Cochise County’s election equipment was properly certified,” said Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for Hobbs, in a statement. “The Board of Supervisors had all of the information they needed to certify this election and failed to uphold their responsibility for Cochise voters.”

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The lawsuit accuses the county supervisors of disenfranchising voters if they do not certify their results on time, as the state will still be required to certify statewide results by the deadline with or without the county’s vote count. Hobbs also warned there could be consequences of failing to certify election results, such as some candidates winning races they actually lost simply because Cochise County’s ballots were not included in the statewide vote count.

The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans also filed a lawsuit against the county supervisors, with a hearing set for both cases scheduled for Thursday.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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