Almost a month after the midterm elections, a rural Arizona county has certified its results, thereby ending Republican Kari Lake’s hopes of becoming Arizona governor.
It means that Katie Hobbs, the current Secretary of State, will be officially confirmed as Governor.
Republican supervisors in Cochise County were found in contempt of court by a judge who ordered the vote tally to be certified by county officials who had failed to do so by the deadline earlier this week.
The deadline for certifying the election had passed on Monday, but two of the three Republicans on the county’s board of supervisors still had not done so.
None of the election results were questioned by them. Instead, they claim that they are unsatisfied with the results because they are not convinced that the voting machines were legally certified for use in elections, despite claims to the contrary by state and federal elected officials.
Many Cochise County voters backed Lake, a vocal opponent of the election results who refuses to accept defeat.
On Monday, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a local voter, and a group of retirees filed a lawsuit seeking a judge to compel the supervisors to certify the election, also called a canvass.
Hobbs stated that she must have the statewide certification on December 5 and that she has until December 8 to do so legally.
After a hearing on Thursday, Judge Casey McGinley ordered the board of supervisors to meet within 90 minutes and vote on whether or not to approve the election canvass by the end of the day.
Supervisor Peggy Judd, one of the two Republicans who twice rejected certification, has remarked, “I am not sorry for what I did.” “And today I believe I must,” she continued, “because of a court ruling and because of my own health and because of events that are going on in our lives.”
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Tom Crosby, the other Republican on the board, was absent. The board’s sole Democrat, Supervisor Ann English, had requested the judge’s speedy certification of the election two hours earlier.
There will be a meeting between the secretary of state and the election doubters on Friday, as Crosby is trying to arrange, she said.
This “circus” is unnecessary, English said. “Okay, that’s it; I’m done. People have probably had enough by now. If it’s at all feasible, I’d like this matter to be settled quickly.
The vote clears the way for Monday’s statewide certification to proceed as planned.
Several tight contests could have been decided differently if Democratic Governor-elect Hobbs had been forced to certify statewide results without figures from Cochise County, as she had previously warned. All 47,000 votes cast in the county went to the Republican candidate.
After having a difficult time finding an attorney to take their cases, the board members decided to represent themselves in court.
The supervisors’ actions were deemed unlawful by the elected county attorney, who ordinarily represents the board in legal conflicts, and he declined to take up the lawsuits.
The board hired a Phoenix-based attorney just hours before the hearing, but he was not given enough time to prepare and failed to notify the court that he would be representing the supervisors.
Republican supervisors, days before the November 8 election, dropped plans to count all ballots by hand, which the court declared was illegal, but this week required proof from the secretary of state that vote-counting machines were lawfully certified before they would accept the results.
On Monday, they stated that they needed more time to learn about those worries before voting on certification. On Friday, a gathering will be held to discuss just that.
The electronic tabulators used in Arizona’s elections are tested and certified by one of two businesses recognized by the United States Election Assistance Commission.
In early 2021, rumors began circulating that this procedure was fraudulent due to an out-of-date accreditation certificate for one of the companies that had been made public online.
The federal government conducted an investigation and reported that an administrative error prevented the agency from issuing a new certificate even though the company was still in good standing and had undergone audits in 2018 and early 2021.
Further, officials emphasized that the only way a testing company could lose accreditation under federal law is if the commission revoked it, which did not happen.
Since former President Donald Trump erroneously claimed the 2020 election was stolen from him, Arizona has been at the center of fights about charges of electoral fraud. Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election after multiple recounts in Arizona and elsewhere.
Lake, who accepted Trump’s accusations of a stolen election and refused to concede to Hobbs despite losing by fewer than 17,000 votes, is an example.
Some activists who promote false notions of voter fraud have refused to accept the results despite Lake’s and others’ defeat being considered as a powerful rebuke of candidates who echoed Trump’s falsehoods of a stolen election.
Meanwhile, in Phoenix, a federal judge ruled against the attorneys who represented Republican gubernatorial and secretary of state candidates Kari Lake and Mark Finchem in their attempt to have all ballots counted by hand.
Obama appointment Judge John Tuchi sided with Maricopa County’s attorneys, who stated the complaint was founded on false information and ruled that the attorneys responsible for filing the suit must pay the county’s legal fees.
Tuchi said that the lawyers’ “false, deceptive, and unsubstantiated factual allegations” in the case were evidence of malpractice. Lawyers “furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust,” he said, will not be tolerated by the court.
The attorneys for Lake and Finchem, who are represented by famed Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, argued that their client’s claims were “legally sound and supported by strong evidence.”