As election disputes linger, rural Arizona delays certifying midterm results



CNN

Officials in a rural Arizona county on Monday delayed the certification of November midterm elections, missing a legal deadline and Arizona directed the Secretary of State to sue the district for failing to sign off on the results.

By a 2-1 vote Monday morning, the Republican majority The Cochise County Board of Supervisors denied certification until Friday, citing concerns about voting machines. With Monday’s deadline for all 15 Arizona counties to certify their results, Cochise’s move could jeopardize the votes of about 47,000 county residents and cause confusion in the election if those votes go uncounted.

In a lawsuit filed by the office of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who will be the state’s next governor, officials said the failure to certify election results violates state law and could “potentially disenfranchise” district voters.

CNN supervisors have been contacted for comment.

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The standoff between officials in Cochise County and the Arizona secretary of state illustrates how election misinformation is fueling controversy in some corners of the country about the 2022 results, with many candidates echoing former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. They were defeated in November.

Grassroots activists gathered at a special meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors after problems with printers at polling places on Election Day led to long lines of the county’s election administration procedures during the public comment portion of the meeting. One-third of the county’s polling places. In a new letter to the state attorney general’s office — which sought an explanation for the problems — the Maricopa County attorney’s office said “no voter has been denied the right to vote because of the inconvenience the county has experienced with some of its printers.”

Controversy over the results has erupted elsewhere.

In Pennsylvania, counties also face a Monday deadline to certify their general election ballots, with local officials facing an onslaught of petitions demanding recounts. And officials in Luzerne County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, were deadlocked Monday over whether to certify the results. Several media reports. Election officials there did not respond to CNN’s inquiries Monday afternoon.

In a statement to CNN, officials with the Pennsylvania Department of State said they had reached out to Luzerne officials “to inquire about the board’s decision and their intended next steps.”

On Election Day, a paper shortage in Luzerne County forced a court to extend in-person voting.

Another key battleground state, Arizona, has long been a cauldron of election conspiracies. GOP gubernatorial candidate Gary Lake and the GOP’s Secretary of State Mark Finchem, both of whom lied to Trump in 2020, declined to concede their bets as they continued to cast doubt on the outcome of this year’s election.

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Lake’s campaign filed a lawsuit last week with Maricopa County’s Department of Elections seeking more information about the number of voters who went to the polls. Arizona’s GOP attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh — who, like Airey and Finchem, has Trump’s support — filed the lawsuit last week in state Superior Court in Maricopa County. Challenging election results The case describes errors in election administration.

Hamadeh trailed his challenger, Democrat Chris Mayes, by 510 votes. But the lawsuit asks the Arizona Secretary of State to issue an injunction barring him from certifying Mayes as the winner, and asks the court to declare Hamadeh the winner. A recount cannot begin until the state’s votes are certified.

Alex Gulotta, Arizona state director of All Voting is Local, said the drama over certification of votes and the refusal to back down from defeating candidates is part of the “voter denial infrastructure” that has been building in Arizona since the 2020 election.

“Those people are going to keep trying to find fertile ground for their efforts to undermine our elections. They’re not going to give up,” Gulotta said.

But their refusal to concede was “inevitable in Arizona, at least in this cycle, given the candidates. These are not good failures,” he added. “They said from the beginning they were going to be bad losers.”

In Cochise County, Republican officials on the county Board of Supervisors argued for a delay, citing concerns about voting machines.

Ann English, the leader of the Democratic Party, argued that “we have no reason to delay.”

But Republican commissioners Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd voted to delay signing the results, citing claims the machines weren’t properly certified. Monday’s action is the second time the Republican-controlled board has delayed certification. It also marked the latest attempt by Republicans to register their refusal on the voting machines. Earlier this month, they tried to mount a detailed hand-counting audit of the midterm election results, pitting them against Cochise’s director of elections and district attorney, who warned that gambling might violate the law.

Concerns cited by the Republican majority about vote-counting machines are rooted in debunked conspiracy theories, state election officials said.

Cory Lorick, the state’s director of elections, confirmed in writing that the voting machines had been tested and certified — something Hobbs reiterated at Monday’s hearing. He is asking the court to compel the board to certify the results by Thursday.

The initial deadline for statewide certification is set for December 5. In the lawsuit, Hobbs’ attorneys said his office has not received a district’s results, but state law allows for a short delay until Dec. 8, or 30 days after the election.

“Absent this court’s intervention, the secretary will have no choice but to end the statewide campaign by December 8 without including Cochise County’s votes,” his attorneys added.

If votes from this Republican stronghold somehow go uncounted, it could tip two races to Democrats: the race for state comptroller and the congressional race in which Republican Juan Ciscomani is already predicted to win by CNN and other outlets.

A A recent comment Two former election officials in Maricopa County — published in the Arizona Republic — said the courts are likely to intervene and force Cochise to certify the results.

But Republican Helen Purcell, a former Maricopa County Recorder and Democrat, and Tommy Patrick, the county’s former federal compliance officer, warned that a “Republican-controlled Board of Supervisors could disenfranchise their own voters and give Democrats even more victories.” Middle Ages.”

This story has been updated with additional updates.

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