AZ Secretary of State’s office sues Cochise County after county fails to certify election

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, May 6, 2021. A judge has blocked a rural Arizona county's plan to hand-count all the ballots in the Nov. 8, 2022, election. The full hand-count was ordered by Republican officials in Cochise County who have made unfounded claims that vote-counting machines are untrustworthy. (AP Photo/Matt York, Pool,File) Matt York / AP Photo

Cochise County, Arizona, failed to certify its 2022 general election results by the state-mandated deadline, and now the Secretary of State’s office is taking action. 

The Cochise County Board of Supervisors did not vote to certify the 2022 general election results on Monday, November 28; state law requires counties to certify their election results within 20 days of an election.

The Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 to delay certifying the election results until at least December 2. However, the Secretary of State’s office is demanding it reverse course. The Secretary of State’s office filed a lawsuit this week, demanding the county certify the election results.

Cochise County, Arizona, was the only one of the state’s 15 counties that failed to certify its election results by the state’s deadline. 

Part of the reason Cochise County voted to delay the certification of its election results is allegations that the machines used to tabulate votes in the county were certified by an unaccredited lab. However, the Secretary of State’s office says that’s not true. 

“The Secretary of State’s Office provided supporting documentation that confirmed Cochise County’s election equipment was properly certified,” a spokesperson from the Secretary of State’s office told The Center Square. “The Board of Supervisors had all of the information they needed to certify this election and failed to uphold their responsibility for Cochise voters.”

The Secretary of State’s lawsuit says that Cochise County failed to certify the election results without offering any justification. Therefore, it plans to proceed with statewide election result certification on December 8, with or without the Cochise County results.

“Thus, the Board’s inaction not only violates the plain language of the statute, but also undermines a basic tenet of fair and free elections in this state: ensuring that every Arizonan’s voice is heard,” the Secretary of State’s office wrote in the lawsuit. “The Board’s unprecedented inaction should not disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters in Cochise County.”

If the state refuses to certify the Cochise County election results, it would change the results of at least one election, if not more. 

Without votes from deep-red Cochise County, the Sixth District U.S. House race would flip from Republican to Democratic, as The Washington Examiner reports. It would shrink the House Republican majority from 222-213 to 221-214.

A spokesperson for the Cochise County Board of Supervisors told The Center Square in an email, “The county does not have a comment on pending legal matters.”

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.