Arizona county delays certification of election results in ‘political statement’

The board of supervisors in Mohave County, Arizona, delayed certification of midterm election results on Monday in protest of voting issues in Maricopa County, becoming the second county to do so.

In a split vote, board members decided to wait until the November 28 deadline to certify the election results as a “political statement” of “solidarity” with those troubled by voting machine issues that had plagued the state. Maricopa County, the most populous county in the U.S., was stricken. Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright sent a letter Saturday to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office seeking clarification of issues with ballot-on-demand printers in at least 60 polling places.

Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs was elected governor and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., was re-elected to a full six-year term in the midterm elections, when nearly 2.6 million Arizonans voted. However, Hobbs’ Republican opponent, Kari Lake, has refused to concede the race, claiming that her supporters were swayed by Election Day issues.

Maricopa County reported problems at about 30% of its vote centers on November 8, when tabulators were unable to read some ballots.

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A voter casts his ballot in a secure ballot drop box at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 1, 2022 in Phoenix.

A voter casts his ballot in a secure ballot drop box at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 1, 2022 in Phoenix.
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Election officials have said that all ballots were counted and that no one had lost their ability to vote. Voters who encountered problems with the tabulators were asked to place their ballots in a secure box, which was taken to county election headquarters and tabulated by machines in working order.

However, the state attorney general’s office demanded clarification in a November 19 letter, saying there were “first-hand witness accounts” that raised concerns that Maricopa County complied with state election law. Yes or No.

“The people of Arizona deserve a full report and accounting of the myriad problems that have occurred regarding the administration of Maricopa County in the 2022 general election,” Wright wrote.

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Arizona gubernatorial candidates Katie Hobbs, left, and Kari Lake.

Arizona gubernatorial candidates Katie Hobbs, left, and Kari Lake.
(Getty Images)

According to Maricopa County officials, approximately 17,000 Election Day ballots were affected by problems and were counted later instead of at the polling place. The Associated Press reported that only 16% of the 1.56 million votes cast in Maricopa County were done in person on Election Day.

Although Mojave County did not experience problems with its ballots, board members voted to delay certification of results until the November 28 deadline, which those in favor acknowledged was a “political statement”. .

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Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, left, opens mail-in ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on Nov. 11, 2022, in Phoenix.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, left, opens mail-in ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on Nov. 11, 2022, in Phoenix.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Board member Hildy Angius said, “It’s a political statement, I’m not going to lie.” “We did it in 2020, it doesn’t deter us. It doesn’t hold us liable. It’s again, a statement of solidarity with other counties that are doing this.”

Southeastern Cochise County officials also voted Friday to delay certification of their election results, requesting that the secretary of state confirm that their vote counting machines were legally certified. Prior to the vote, the county heard testimony from three individuals who alleged that the certification had expired.

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On Monday, state elections director Corey Lauric provided certification from the US Election Assistance Commission for the vote counting machines to the county board. Lauric also warned the board that all Cochise County votes would not be counted if certification was not received by the Secretary of State’s office by December 5. A failure to certify the results in Cochise County would benefit Democrats, as some Republicans won 60% of the vote there.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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