Arizona County Confirms Midterm Election Results By Judge’s Order


Officials in rural Cochise County, Arizona, confirmed the results of the county’s midterm elections Thursday, ending a high-stakes confrontation with state officials over the county’s failure to sign the election results by the legal deadline.

The 2-0 vote came shortly after a judge ordered the county’s three-member board of directors to confirm the results by 5 p.m. local time.

Cochise was the last of Arizona’s 15 counties to confirm the election. The standoff between Republican officials in the county and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat and elected governor of the state, had garnered national attention as a symbol of how deep election misinformation had taken root in parts of the country since the 2020 election.

The two Republicans on the three-member panel had delayed certification because they had concerns about whether the vote-counting machines had been properly certified. The Secretary of State’s office said the machines had been tested and certified, arguing that the recalcitrant board members were promoting debunked conspiracy theories.

Statewide certification of Arizona’s results is scheduled for Monday.

Peggy Judd, one of the Republican supervisors who originally voted to delay certification, said Thursday that she “has no shame in anything I’ve done,” but voted “yes” in response to the court order. She was joined by the lone Democrat on the Cochise board of directors, its chairwoman Ann English, in confirming the results.

English said those who want to change the way elections are conducted must lobby lawmakers to change state laws. “We are responding to the legislature,” she said. “We don’t make laws for the state.”

The third board member, Republican Tom Crosby, did not attend the meeting.

Earlier Thursday, Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley told supervisors they had a “non-discretionary” duty to conduct the certification.

Hobbs had sued along with a group of retirees to force the board to confirm the findings. The board’s initial delay risked disenfranchising about 47,000 voters, Hobbs said.

McGinley said regulators’ or the public’s concerns about vote counting machines were “no reason to delay the collection” of the results.

His decision followed weeks of controversy in this Republican stronghold as the GOP majority on the board sought to voice their disapproval of the machines. At one point, the two Republican overseers on the three-member board urged, unsuccessfully, to conduct a comprehensive hand count of the November general election results.

Arizona has been a hotbed of election conspiracy theories since President Joe Biden flipped the once reliably red state in 2020, becoming the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Grand Canyon State in nearly a quarter century. At public meetings in Cochise and elsewhere, calls were clamored for local officials to exercise their largely ministerial certifying roles to overturn elections.

Earlier this year, a court ordered the results of the Otero County, New Mexico, primary elections notarized after a local executive voted against the notarization, saying they don’t trust tab machines.

“On the one hand, this is a hyper-local issue,” said Ryan Snow, advisor to the voting rights project at the Civil Rights Bar Committee. “On the other hand, it also sums up what it means to live in a democracy. You need to be confident that you are voting and that those votes count.”

“Since 2020 we have a new fight in the fight for our democracy, namely: After votes are tabulated, whether to be certified,” he added.

During Thursday’s court hearing, Crosby attempted to delay proceedings so that a lawyer hired by supervisors just hours before the hearing could prepare. The judge denied that request.

English, the panel’s chair, begged the judge to force managers to act quickly. “I’ve had enough,” she said. “I think the public has had enough.”

This story has been updated with additional developments.


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