Trump's election nightmare gets worse as Arizona County refuses to certify

    WORLD  30 November 2022 - 05:07

    One of Arizona's most conservative counties is refusing to certify the results of the state's recent election after numerous technical issues on Election Day helped rekindle long-standing conspiracy theories of a nefarious effort to rig the state's elections against conservatives.

    Ultimately, the effort is likely to hurt Republicans more than help them, Newsweek reported on November 28.

    Officials in Cochise County voted 2-1 Monday to delay certifying their county's elections results, missing a key administrative deadline that puts them out of compliance with state laws requiring them to certify the result.

    If allowed to stand, the county's refusal to certify the result means that its near-47,000 votes in the hotly contested gubernatorial race as well as its residents' votes for seats like Congress will not be counted, potentially changing the result of a number of elections at the federal, state and local levels. And in each instance, failure to certify means a worse result for Republicans.

    Republican Kari Lake, who has continued to cast doubt about the integrity of the gubernatorial election she recently lost by a half-point margin to Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, won Cochise County by more than 8,000 votes.

    While not enough to sway the governor's race, invalidating the result could have the potential to change the recent congressional race between Democrat Kirsten Engel and Republican Juan Ciscomani, who won by just over 6,000 votes.

    Meanwhile, an ongoing debate in over certifying the result in other red counties like Mohave County could threaten to upend the result of other tight races statewide like the superintendent of public instruction contest between Democratic incumbent Kathy Hoffman and Republican Tom Horne, who leads by 8,000 votes.

    Just the talk of refusing to certify ahead of Election Day drew criticism from both sides, who saw the Republican-led challenge as nothing more than shooting GOP efforts in the foot in an election in which the party flailed under the influence of former President Donald Trump, whose unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election in the state was "stolen" led to a proliferation of conspiracy theories around the state's elections.

    "It is of course unconscionable for thousands of Arizona citizens to be disenfranchised, regardless of their political affiliation," former Arizona officials Helen Purcell and Tammy Patrick wrote in an op-ed in the Arizona Republic newspaper over the weekend, decrying Cochise County's efforts. "One of us is a Republican and one of us is a Democrat, but we would never want to see the outright nullification of the ballots of voters from any party, even if it helped our preferred candidates.

    "But it is particularly ironic that a Republican-controlled board of supervisors could end up disenfranchising their own voters and hand Democrats even more victories in the midterms. This outcome would be undemocratic and unacceptable, but Cochise County voters would know exactly whom to blame—their own elected supervisors."

    While Cochise County plans to meet Friday for additional information before certifying the vote, Hobbs, who has faced calls from the far right to recuse herself from her role in administering an election in which she was running, is pushing them to fulfill their constitutional obligation as scheduled. Shortly after the decision, the Arizona Secretary of State's Office confirmed it would be filing a lawsuit against the county by the end of the day to force its hand.

    While the office declined to answer specific questions about the effort, Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for the agency, wrote in an emailed statement to Newsweek that the office "will use all available legal remedies to compel compliance with Arizona law and protect voters' right to have their votes counted."

    Caliber.Az

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