November 28, 2022


Democrats could win more seats if Cochise County refuses to certify election:  If Cochise County refuses to certify election results in time, it could hand close congressional and statewide offices to Democrats (Helen Purcell and Tammy Patrick, 11/28/22, Arizona Republic)

As former Arizona election officials, we know well that Arizona law is clear: once the voters have spoken, it is the duty of the board of supervisors in each county to canvass the election results within 20 days of the election (this year, Nov. 28) and to send the certified results to the secretary of state so that the statewide canvass can be completed by the fourth Monday following the election (this year, Dec. 5).

This duty is not optional − it is mandatory. The law gives the board of supervisors no authority or discretion whatsoever to refuse this mandate. In fact, Arizona law plainly states that the supervisors board "has a non-discretionary duty to canvass the returns as provided by the County Recorder or other officer in charge of elections and has no authority (emphasis added) to change vote totals or reject the election results." And a refusal to comply can even expose members of the board to criminal liability. [...]

Board members who voted against certification would face the very real prospect of civil and criminal penalties. And in all likelihood, they would achieve nothing, as Arizona courts would almost certainly step in and order the board to abide by its legal obligations and certify the results. 

But in the unlikely event that the courts didn't intervene, the board's gambit would only hurt the voters of Cochise County and the candidates that they support.

If the board has still refused to certify by the Dec. 5 deadline for state certification (which can be extended to Dec. 8, but no later), the law requires that the secretary of state still move ahead with the statewide canvass of results. In that case, the statewide canvass would not include the results from Cochise County, which is heavily Republican. 

This mass disenfranchisement of Cochise County voters − at the hands of their own board of supervisors − could result in flipping the final results in a number of tight races, with Republican candidates and voters paying the price. For example, Republican Juan Ciscomani would likely lose his congressional race to Democrat Kirsten Engel.

Posted by at November 28, 2022 7:10 PM