Officials in Republican-controlled Cochise County in rural Arizona were finally forced to certify their local midterm elections results on Thursday after a state judge ruled that it was unlawful not to certify the results by the state’s legal deadline they missed and put more than 47,000 people’s votes at risk.
The Cochise County board of supervisors certified the county’s election results following the ruling of Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley who ordered them to meet and make the results official by 5 p.m. MT Thursday.
Stressing that the board exceeded its lawful authority in delaying the canvass for a reason that was not permitted by the statute, Judge McGinley cited the law to point out that given that no results were missing from the county’s totals, the board was duty-bound to certify the results and submit them to the secretary of state by Monday.
McGinley’s order came after the board’s two Republicans – Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby – turned a usually uneventful step in the election process into a closely watched controversy by voting on Monday not to certify the results out of concerns, as they claimed, about the Cochise County’s election equipment, which Arizona officials have confirmed were tested and properly certified.
Their decision not to proceed with the statewide certification that is legally required to take place next week despite finding no legitimate problems with the counts has prompted an avalanche of criticism and lawsuits, including by the Arizona secretary of state, Democrat Katie Hobbs who narrowly won the race for governor.
To avoid causing additional delays to preparations for the statewide certification of midterm election results, Hobbs’ office has been urging Cochise County to complete certification by Thursday, warning of the possible exclusion of its tens of thousands of votes from the official results if they are not certified by in time.