Arizona Supreme Court declines Cochise County’s ballot hand count appeal

The Arizona Supreme Court in the Arizona State Courts building shown here Tuesday, Oct. 20,...
The Arizona Supreme Court in the Arizona State Courts building shown here Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)(Ross D. Franklin | AP)
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 3:17 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 1:47 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court declined the request of the Cochise County Board of Supervisors, county recorder and elections director to hear their appeal of an earlier ruling that barred the county from conducting a hand count of all ballots.

Justice William Montgomery wrote the order Thursday declining the request by the southern Arizona county. Justice Montgomery did not include a reason for the denial in the short two-page order.

On November 10, 2022, Appellants Tom Crosby, Ann English, and Peggy Judd, in their official capacities as the Cochise County Board of Supervisors, David Stevens, in his official capacity as the Cochise County Recorder, and Lisa Mara, in her official capacity as the Cochise County Elections Director, filed a Motion to Transfer pursuant to Ariz. R. Civ. App. P. 19(a)(3). Appellants argue that extraordinary circumstances justify transferring this appeal because: (1 ) the case presents statewide importance of the novel issue of pure law; (2) the statutory hand-count deadline will preclude review by this Court if the Court does not accept transfer, and (3) judicial economy favors transfer. After consideration,

IT IS ORDERED, denying the Motion to Transfer.

Hon. William G. Montgomery, Arizona Supreme Court

On Monday, a Pima County Superior Court judge blocked the county’s plan to conduct a full hand-count of ballots from Tuesday’s election — a measure requested by Republican officials who expressed unfounded concerns that vote-counting machines are untrustworthy. Judge Casey F. McGinley said the county board of supervisors overstepped its legal authority by ordering the county recorder to count all the ballots cast in the election, rather than the small sample required by state law.

The opponents — a group of retirees who sued in court to stop a full hand count — argued that state law only allows a small hand count of early ballots to ensure the counting machines are accurate. Group members argued that a last-minute change would create chaos and potentially delay certification of the election results.

On Thursday, county officials filed a motion to transfer the case from the Arizona Court of Appeals to the state Supreme Court. The appellants say the transfer is justified due to the statewide importance of the issue.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

See the motion in its entirety below: