Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Arizona state officials certified the results of the midterm elections on Monday nearly a month after Election Day.
The election certification was delayed more than two weeks due to supervisors in Cochise County refusing to canvass votes by the state mandated deadline of Nov. 28. On Thursday they held an emergency meeting and voted 2-0 in favor of certifying the results and sending them on to the state.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs presided over the state certification on Monday morning, joined by election director Kori Lorick, Gov. Doug Ducey, Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel.
"Preparing for an election is an immense undertaking. While this one was not without challenges, we saw extremely high participation for a midterm election," Hobbs said.
Hobbs said nearly 2.6 million ballots were cast in the election. More than 80% of votes were cast early.
Cochise County supervisors Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd refused to canvass votes because of unfounded allegations of uncertified voting machines. Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley ordered the county supervisors to complete their canvass which prompted an emergency meeting to do so. Crosby did not vote or speak during that meeting.
"As we've learned these past few years, protecting our democracy requires everyone's participation to help discern truth from fiction and listen to experts seeking to uphold our laws and republic rather than promote conspiracies," Hobbs said.
"False claims that undermine our democracy remain prevalent. We need to look no further than the effort by some elected officials last week to prevent this canvass from happening by refusing to uphold Arizona's election laws. Arizona had a successful election."
Hobbs warned that Arizona will face another challenge from "election deniers" during the 2024 general election. She highlighted some of the pieces in place to protect the integrity of elections, such as voting machines certified by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission and reviewed by Arizona's election advisory committee. This process is observed under open meeting laws.
"This election, conspiracy theories about the accreditation of election equipment caused some doubt as to whether the election should be certified," Hobbs said. "These claims are unequivocally false."
With the election certified, there are five days for formal challenges to be made. Kari Lake, a GOP governor hopeful and vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, is one of the prominent candidates to be defeated in Arizona.
Lake was defeated in the gubernatorial race by Hobbs who tallied about 17,000 more votes.