A judge has issued an order to compel officials in Arizona’s Cochise County to certify the disputed midterm election results.
Three days after election officials missed the statutory deadline of November 28, Judge Casey McGinley of the Pima County Superior Court ordered the county’s board of supervisors to certify their jurisdiction’s midterm results on Thursday.
Judge McGinley ordered the board of supervisors to convene and declare the results official by 5 pm MT on Thursday.
McGinley ruled that the failure of two Republican supervisors to certify the results before the state’s legal deadline was illegal.
On Monday, the lone Democrat on the three-person panel, supervisor Anne English, voted against the motion to postpone the results.
Republican supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby voted to postpone.
Following the certification on Thursday, state officials in Arizona will now be able to proceed with statewide certification on Monday.
The move comes after the board voted 2–0 to certify the outcomes of the November 8 midterm elections.
Republican Tom Crosby abstained from the court-ordered hearing, leaving English and Judd to cast the deciding votes to certify.
Cochise County’s Board of Supervisors sought to push back certifying the results in order to further review claims that the results were not legal.
Investigations have found that the county’s voting equipment was not properly certified in accordance with the law.
According to election officials, the machinery was properly approved, however.
Cochise County, which borders Mexico, has always been a bastion of Republican and conservative voters.
Arizona’s Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who was declared the victor of the state’s gubernatorial race, sued Cochise County earlier this week.
Hobbs’ lawsuit was filed after the two Republican members of the board voted to delay certification.
Cochise County “had a statutory duty to certify the results of the 2022 General Election” by November 28., Hobbs said on Twitter, where she shared screenshots of the lawsuit.
According to Hobb’s lawsuit, failure to certify the results before December 1 will “sow greater confusion and doubt about the integrity of Arizona’s election system.”
She asked the court to issue an injunction compelling officials to certify the results.
“The Board’s inaction not only violates the plain language of the statute but also undermines a basic tenet of free and fair elections in this state: ensuring that every Arizonan’s voice is heard,” the lawsuit (pdf) reads.
Hobb’s lawsuit stated that without the court’s intervention, she would have no choice, as Arizona’s chief elections official in her role as secretary of state, but to complete the statewide canvass by December 8 “without Cochise County’s votes included.”
“Thus, the Board’s inaction not only violates the plain language of the statute but also undermines a basic tenet of free and fair elections in this state: ensuring that every Arizonan’s voice is heard,” Hobbs’ attorneys wrote.
This would put at risk around 47,000 people’s votes, according to local election data (pdf).
The board was also sued by the Arizona Alliance of Retired Americans and Cochise County resident Stephani Stephenson.
A Pennsylvania county that didn’t have enough paper ballots on Election Day, the Luzerne County board of elections, similarly failed to certify their canvass results on Monday, missing the state deadline.
They were sued by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and ultimately certified their results on November 30.