Home USA News GOP-controlled Arizona refuses to certify the election

GOP-controlled Arizona refuses to certify the election

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PHOENIX (AP) — Republican officials in a rural Arizona district on Monday refused to certify the 2022 election before the deadline amid pressure from prominent Republicans to abandon the recount that gave Democrats victories in the U.S. Senate, governorships and other states.

State election officials have vowed to sue Cochise County if the board of supervisors misses a Monday deadline to approve the official vote count, known as a canvass. Two Republican supervisors have delayed the campaign vote until they hear again about concerns about the certification of ballot counts, even though election officials have repeatedly explained that the equipment is properly certified.

Democratic attorney Mark Elias vowed on Twitter to sue the county. Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Kathy Hobbs, had no comment. Hobbs’ office has previously vowed to sue the county if it misses the deadline.

Republican leaders in Mojave County delayed a certification vote until late Thursday after hearing comments from residents upset about problems with voting printers in Maricopa County.

The election results were mostly certified no problem in jurisdictions across the country. This was not the case in Arizona, which has been at the center of efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election and push false narratives of fraud.

Arizona has long been a GOP stronghold, but Democrats have won most popular races over Republicans who have aggressively promoted Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. Curry Lake, the GOP gubernatorial candidate who lost to Hobbs, and Mark Fincham, the secretary of state candidate, refused to acknowledge their losses. They blame Republican election officials in Maricopa County for problems with some voting printers.

Navajo County, a rural county that leans Republican, voted unanimously to certify after the county attorney warned supervisors they could face a lawsuit if they didn’t. In conservative Yavapai County, residents cited problems in Maricopa County, urging the Board of Supervisors not to certify the election results. The meeting continued.

Republican leaders in Mojave County said last week they would sign on Monday, but they want to register a protest against voting issues in Maricopa County. In Cochise County, GOP leaders demanded that the secretary of state prove that vote-counting machines were legally certified before they would certify election results.

State Elections Director Cory Lorick said the machines are properly certified for election use. She wrote in a letter last week that the state will file a lawsuit to force Cochise County supervisors to certify, and if they don’t do so by the Dec. 5 statewide campaign deadline, the county’s votes will be excluded. The move threatens to swing the winner of at least two close races — a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and the superintendent of public schools — from a Republican to a Democrat.

Lake pointed to election day problems in Maricopa County, where printers at some polling centers produced ballots with markings that were too light to be read by on-site tabulators. Amid the confusion, lines formed, and Lake says an unknown number of her supporters may have been dissuaded from voting as a result.

She filed a public records lawsuit last week demanding the county produce documents shedding light on the issue before it votes to approve Monday’s election. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich also demanded clarification before the vote.

The county responded on Sunday, saying no one was prevented from voting and 85% of polling centers never had lines of more than 45 minutes. Most polling centers with long lines had others nearby with shorter waits, county officials said.

The response accused prominent Republicans, including party chairwoman Kelly Ward, of sowing confusion by telling their Twitter followers not to put their ballots in a secure box to be counted later by more reliable machines at county election headquarters.

The county said just under 17,000 election day ballots were placed in those secure boxes and all were counted. Only 16% of the 1.56 million votes cast in Maricopa County were cast in person on Election Day. The overwhelming majority of votes went to the Republicans.

The Republican National Committee and GOP candidate for Arizona Attorney General Abraham Hamadeh has announced an election appeal in his race, which is set to be an automatic recount, with Hamadeh trailing by 510 votes.

Ward urged supporters to push county leaders to delay the certification vote until after an afternoon hearing on Hamadeh.

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