Cochise County supervisors certify election results after judge orders vote
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — After a lengthy delay, the Cochise County board of supervisors voted 2-0 to approve the election results. Democrat Chairman Ann English and Republican Vice-Chairman Peggy Judd approved the vote, but Republican Supervisor Tom Crosby was absent from the meeting.
All Arizona counties have completed the canvass, and the Secretary of State’s office will certify the results next Monday. The approval comes after Cochise County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley ordered the County’s board to meet at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and to submit their election results to the Secretary of State no later than 5 p.m.
Judd and Crosby voted against certifying the election, putting the county’s 47,000 votes at risk of not being counted at all. Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre advised the two Republican members to certify, but they refused. The members said they weren’t satisfied that the machines used to tabulate ballots were properly certified for use in elections, though state and federal election officials have said they were.
“I am not ashamed of anything I did,” said Judd. “And today I feel I must, because of a court ruling and because of my own health and situations that are going on in our life, I feel like I must follow what the judge did today.”
English, the lone Democrat, voted in favor of certifying the results. “I think it’s a circus that doesn’t need to happen,” she said to the judge during Thursday’s court meeting. “I’ve had enough, I think the public’s had enough, and so I’m asking for a swift resolution of this if that’s possible.” English said Crosby is trying to stage a “smackdown between the secretary of state and the election deniers” at a meeting scheduled for Friday.
The board already had met Thursday morning In a brief 10-minute emergency meeting and voted 2-1 to approve legal representation from McCauley Law Offices, P.C., and for the county administrator to sign an agreement with the firm over the lawsuit. However, at the 1 p.m. hearing, board members represented themselves with no explanation as to why the board’s recently hired was a no-show.
This latest move also comes just a few days after the board decided to look into hiring former Cyber Ninjas lawyer Bryan Blehm to represent Cochise County. However, Blehm declined to represent the county, and there was the question of how the board could pay for legal representation. The board couldn’t legally accept outside donations to pay for the lawsuit or for any other purpose.
Earlier this week, the Secretary of State’s Office asked the Cochise County Superior Court to order officials to certify by Thursday. “Failing to certify would undermine the will of the county’s voters and sow further confusion and doubt about the integrity of Arizona’s election system,” lawyers for Hobbs wrote. “The Board of Supervisors had all of the information they needed to certify this election and failed to uphold their responsibility for Cochise voters,” Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for Hobbs, said in an email.
Arizona law requires county officials to approve the election canvass, and lawyers in several counties warned Republican supervisors they could face criminal charges for failing to carry out their obligations. Cochise County officials had highlighted issues with ballot printers in Maricopa County. Meanwhile, Maricopa County officials said everyone had the chance to vote, and all ballots were counted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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