By Katabella Roberts
Two lawsuits have been filed against the Cochise County Board of Supervisors in Arizona after it voted to delay the certification of its election canvass past the statutory deadline of Nov. 28.
A first lawsuit (pdf) was filed on Monday in Cochise County Superior Court on behalf of the Arizona Alliance of Retired Americans and Cochise County resident Stephani Stephenson.
It states the Cochise County Board of Supervisors “does not have the discretion to refuse to canvass the results of the 2022 general election” and that canvassing election results by a date certain is the Board’s “mandatory legal duty under Arizona law.”
“The Board’s inaction thus threatens to harm not only Cochise County voters, whose votes may be excluded from the statewide returns if the Board does not canvass the county’s election results, but every voter in Arizona,” the lawsuit adds.
Cochise County lies on the border with Mexico and has consistently been a stronghold for Republican and conservative voters.
Plaintiffs are asking the court to order the county to comply with the deadline and canvass their results by no later than Dec. 5. They are also seeking an “award of fees, costs, and other expenses.”
A second lawsuit was filed against the Republican-controlled county on Monday by the office of Arizona Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who is projected to be the state’s next governor.
Sharing screenshots of the lawsuit on Twitter, Hobbs said that Cochise County “had a statutory duty to certify the results of the 2022 General Election” by Nov. 28.
Board Votes Against Certifying Results
Specifically, the suit, which was also filed in Cochise County Superior Court, states that the Secretary of State’s office will be left with no choice but to complete the canvass by Dec. 8 without the county’s votes if it fails to certify the results.
It asks that the court order officials to certify the results by Dec. 1 and that failing to do so will “sow further confusion and doubt about the integrity of Arizona’s election system.”
“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.
“Absent this Court’s intervention, the Secretary will have no choice but to complete the statewide canvass by December 8 without Cochise County’s votes included,” Hobbs’ attorneys wrote. “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.”
The lawsuits come after the Cochise County Board of Supervisors on Monday voted 2-1 against certifying the results and to push back the deadline so the board can further review claims that the county’s voting equipment was not properly certified in accordance with the law.
Election officials have said the equipment was properly approved.
Republican supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby voted to postpone while supervisor Anne English, the lone Democrat on the three-person panel, voted against the motion to certify the results, AZ Central reports.
The decision puts over 47,000 Arizonian votes at risk of being excluded from the state’s official final tally.