Arizona certifies 2022 election despite GOP complaints

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona top officials on Monday confirmed midterm election results, formalizing Democrat victories over Republicans who falsely claimed the 2020 election was rigged.

Certification opens a five-day window for formal election challenges. Republican Kari Lake, who lost the gubernatorial race, is expected to file a lawsuit in the coming days after weeks of criticizing the administration of the election.

The election results were largely confirmed across the country with no issues, but Arizona was an exception. Several Republican-controlled counties delayed their certification, although there was no evidence of ballot-counting problems. Cochise County in southeastern Arizona exceeded the deadline last week, forcing a judge to step in Thursday and order county supervisors to confirm the election by the end of the day.

“Arizona had a successful election,” said Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who defeated Lake in the gubernatorial race before signing the certificate. “But too often, powerful voices spread misinformation throughout the process that threatened to disenfranchise voters.”

The statewide certification, known as the “advertisement,” was signed by Hobbs, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, an appointee for former Gov. Jan Brewer.

When the same group confirmed the 2020 election, Ducey silenced a call from then-President Donald Trump, who was at the time desperate to convince Republican allies to join his attempts to reverse the election he was losing.

“It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly,” Ducey said. “It’s one that recognizes the votes cast by the citizens of our great state.”

Republicans have complained for weeks about Hobbs’ role in confirming their own victory, even though it is typical for election officials to maintain their position while running for higher office. Lake and her allies have focused on problems with ballot printers, which produced about 17,000 ballots that could not be tabulated on site and had to be counted at Elections Department headquarters.

Lines formed at some polling stations, raising Republican suspicions that some supporters were unable to cast a ballot, although there is no evidence it affected the result. County officials say anyone could vote and all legal ballots were counted.

Hobbs immediately petitioned Maricopa County Superior Court for an automatic statewide recount, required by law, in three races decided by less than half a percentage point. The race for attorney general was one of the closest contests in state history, with Democrat Kris Mayes leading Republican Abe Hamadeh by just 510 out of 2.5 million votes cast.

The races for superintendent of public instruction and a legislative seat in the Phoenix suburbs are also being recounted, but the margins are much larger.

Once a Republican stronghold, the top Arizona races turned ugly for Democrats after Republicans nominated a list of candidates backed by Trump, who was focused on backing his bogus claims about the 2020 election. Alongside Hobbs and Mayes, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly was re-elected and Democrat Adrian Fontes won the Secretary of State race.

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This story has been corrected to show that Chief Justice Robert Brutinel was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer and not Doug Ducey.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

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