Arizona county certifies election after judge orders

PHOENIX (AP) — A rural Arizona county justifies its midterm elections Thursday’s results followed an order from a judge ruling that Republican overseers violated the law by refusing to sign off on the vote count by this week’s deadline.

Two Republicans on Cochise County’s three-member Board of Supervisors have been hesitant to certify the election for weeks, even as the deadline passed Monday. They did not mention any problems with the election results. Instead, they said they were not satisfied that the machines used to count ballots were properly certified for elections, even though state and federal election officials said they were.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs Files Lawsuit On Monday, a local voter and a group of retirees asked a judge to compel monitors to certify the election results, a process officially known as canvassing. Hobbs said she has until Dec. 12 for statewide certification. 5 And by law it can only be delayed until December 12th. 8.

At the end of Thursday’s hearing, Judge Casey McGinley ordered supervisors to meet within 90 minutes and approve the election canvassing by the end of the day.

“I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done,” said Supervisor Peggy Judd, one of two Republicans who twice blocked the certification. “Today I feel like I have to, because of the court ruling, because of my own health and what’s going on in our lives, I feel like I have to follow what the judge did today.”

Another Republican on the board, Tom Crosby, was absent from the meeting.

Two hours earlier, Ann English, the board’s lone Democrat, urged the judge to order the board to certify the election results immediately, not another day. She said Crosby was trying to “put a punch 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 happen,” English said. “So I’ve had enough. I think the public has had enough. So I’m asking for this to be resolved as soon as possible, if possible.”

The vote allows statewide certification to proceed as scheduled on Monday.

Hobbs, a Democrat who was elected governor in the November election, warned that she may have to certify statewide results without Cochise County data if the data from Cochise County is not received in time, The result could tip the balance of several close games. The county’s 47,000 votes overwhelmingly went to Republicans.

Board members are representing themselves in court after struggling to find someone willing to take the case. Elected county attorneys, who typically represent the board in legal disputes, have declined to take up the cases, saying the actions of the supervisors were illegal. The board voted to hire a Phoenix-area attorney hours before the hearing, but he was unable to catch up before the hearing and failed to notify the court that he was representing regulators.

In the first days of November in the August election, Republican monitors dropped plans for a manual count of votes that a court said would be illegal, but last week asked the Secretary of State to certify that the counting machines were legally certified before they could be counted. Approval of election results. On Monday, they said they wanted to hear those concerns again before a vote on certification. A meeting is scheduled for this purpose on Friday.

Two companies are accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to test and certify voting equipment, such as electronic tabulating machines used in Arizona to read and count ballots.

Conspiracy theories surrounding the process surfaced in early 2021, focusing on what appeared to be outdated certifications from one of the companies posted online. Federal officials investigated and reported that an administrative error prevented the agency from reissuing the renewed certificate because the company remained in good standing and audited in 2018 and early 2021.

Officials also noted that federal law states that the only way for a testing company to lose its accreditation is for the commission to revoke its accreditation, which has not happened.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Phoenix sanctioned attorneys representing Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, the defeated Republican candidates for governor and attorney general, respectively, for requiring a manual count of all ballots.

Judge John Tuchi, a Barack Obama appointee, agreed with Maricopa County attorneys who argued the lawsuit was based on frivolous information and ordered the attorneys to pay the county’s attorneys’ fees.

The lawyers “made false, misleading and unsubstantiated assertions of fact” in the lawsuit, Tuchi wrote. He said the court would not condone lawyers “facilitating false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust” in the democratic process.

Attorneys for Lake and Finchem, including prominent Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press. They told the court their claim was “legally reasonable and supported by strong evidence”.

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