Two rural Arizona counties have voted to delay certifying their ballot canvasses as some in the GOP claim voters were disenfranchised.
Cochise County, a Republican-leaning area in the state’s southeastern corner, delayed its certification on Friday after three conspiracy theorists claimed the county’s vote-counting machines were not properly certified.
The three men convinced Cochise’s two Republican supervisors to delay certifying the results until a Nov. 28 deadline in a 2-1 vote.
Arizona Elections Director Kori Lorick refuted the allegations at Friday’s meeting, detailing that although the labs used to test voting machines did not receive updated certification ahead of the midterms, the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission had confirmed they were in compliance. Lorick called it an “administrative error.”
“The equipment used in Cochise County is properly certified under both federal and state laws and requirements. The claims that the SLI testing labs were not properly accredited are false,” Lorick said.
She went on to note that the men who spoke at Friday’s meeting had filed similar claims in court, but the Arizona Supreme Court rejected their arguments.
Cochise County’s two Republican supervisors had also filed a lawsuit against the county’s elections director seeking a hand count of ballots cast on Election Day, but they filed to withdraw the suit on Wednesday.
In Mohave County, which is located in Arizona’s northwestern corner, the five Republicans who comprise the Board of Supervisors delayed their certification of the county canvass in a split vote on Monday.
“Did you hear me say many, many, many, many times that there’s never a perfect election? Never will be,” Allen Tempert, the county’s elections director, told supervisors. “Just the way — it’s just the nature of the beast, just the way things go on. … But this was a very, very, very successful election.”
The supervisors who voted for the delay praised Tempert’s handling of the election, instead framing the decision as a political statement of solidarity after some in the GOP raised concerns about voting in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous jurisdiction, which includes Phoenix.
Supervisor Hildy Angius (R) said the board had been asked to not certify the election along with multiple other counties in the state, signaling that Mohave will instead certify the results the day of the county’s deadline next week.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to pay the price, that we have to go through this angst every election because of what goes on down there,” Angius said at the meeting. “So whatever happens with this vote right now, I want everyone to know it has nothing to do with Mohave County, because you guys did an awesome job.”
Supervisor Jean Bishop (R) called the move “kind of ludicrous” at the meeting.
“We’re not Maricopa County, we’re Mohave County,” Bishop said. “Our vote is solid, our canvass is gonna be solid. Whether or not it’s today or Monday, it’s gonna be the same. We’re good.”
Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has railed against election officials in Maricopa County, claiming without evidence that “many voters” were deprived of their right to vote, in part because of printer malfunctions in some of the county’s vote centers.
Katie Hobbs (D), Arizona’s current secretary of state, was declared the winner of the governor’s race last week.
The county’s top elections officials have acknowledged that 70 of the county’s 223 voting centers experienced the printing issue but deny that any citizen was denied an opportunity to vote.
Election officials say voters could wait in line until the issue was fixed, cast a ballot at another vote center or deposit their original ballot in a separate, secure box that was sent to the county’s central facility for tabulation.
Arizona’s attorney general has demanded the county further address the concerns about the elections.
Lake has posted a series of videos on her Twitter account of voters detailing their experiences on Election Day, although many did not claim in the videos that they were denied an opportunity to vote.
Voters in multiple videos said they placed their ballots in the separate box, claiming without evidence that the ballots weren’t counted.
In another video, a voter said they arrived at a vote center at 7 p.m. and were not allowed to join the line despite others standing there already. Under Arizona law, voters must join the line by 7 p.m. to cast a ballot.
Beyond the gubernatorial race, Arizona’s attorney general contest remains too close to call, with more than 2.5 million votes counted but just 510 votes separating the two candidates. The close margin is likely to trigger an automatic recount under state law following certification.