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Rural Arizona election officials refuse to certify results, miss Monday deadline

The office of Arizona Secretary of State and governor-elect Katie Hobbs issued a letter to Cochise County supervisors warning of legal action if they did not canvass votes by Monday, which they voted 2-1 against doing. File Photo by Rick D'Elia/EPA-EFE
The office of Arizona Secretary of State and governor-elect Katie Hobbs issued a letter to Cochise County supervisors warning of legal action if they did not canvass votes by Monday, which they voted 2-1 against doing. File Photo by Rick D'Elia/EPA-EFE

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Election officials in Cochise County, Ariz., on Monday refused to certify the results from this month's midterm election, throwing several local and statewide races up in the air and opening the door for legal action.

The majority conservative county supervisors voted 2-1 against certifying the votes, citing uncertified voting machines, an unfounded claim touted by conspiracy theorists. Supervisors Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd, both Republicans, said Secretary of State and governor-elect Katie Hobbs and her office did not provide proof that voting machines were property certified.

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"In that group's opinion, the secretary [of state] has not been responsive in providing proof of lawful accreditation of voting machine laboratories," Crosby said Monday, referring to a group of conspiracy theorists challenging the election results. "In my opinion, that lack of response would seem to suggest the inability to provide the requested proof by the secretary."

Secretary Hobbs' office issued a letter to the supervisors last week, warning them that "all available legal remedies" will be used to "compel" their compliance if they do not submit their canvass of votes to the state by Monday.

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State elections director Kori Lorick dismissed the claims of improperly certified voting machines.

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"These claims are derived from baseless conspiracies about Arizona's equipment certification process," she wrote.

Ann English, the lone Democratic supervisor, voted in favor of certifying the election results.

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"We have heard from the secretary of state's office, who is in charge of elections," she said. "We have been presented materials that [were] asked for at the last meeting from both sides. And I feel that you both have the information necessary in order to make this decision that's nondiscretionary."

Democratic election attorney Marc Elias said in a post on Twitter that he will sue Cochise County.

"Cochise will be sued. Stay tuned," he said.

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The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans filed a lawsuit against the county late Monday, seeking an order for the supervisors to canvass the election by Thursday, the Arizona Republic reports.

Arizona was a hotbed for election conspiracies and denial over the results of the 2020 presidential election. Many of the Republicans most loyal to former President Donald Trump lost in Arizona in the Nov. 8 midterms, including Kari Lake, a candidate for governor. Lake was defeated by Hobbs, the current Secretary of State.

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