Arizona county delays certification of election results in ‘political statement’
The Mohave County, Arizona, Board of Supervisors decided to delay the certification of midterm election results Monday in protest of voting problems in Maricopa County, becoming the second county to do so.
In a split vote, board members decided to wait until the Nov. 28 deadline to certify the election results as a “political statement” of “solidarity” with those upset with voting machine problems that affected Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county. The move comes as Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright sent a letter Saturday to the Maricopa County District Attorney’s office seeking an explanation for problems with on-demand ballot printers at 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 voted of Arizonans However, Hobbs’ Republican opponent, Kari Lake, has refused to concede the race, claiming her supporters were disenfranchised by Election Day issues.
Maricopa County reported problems at about 30 percent of its vote centers on Nov. 8, when tabulators failed to read some ballots.
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Election officials said all ballots were counted and no one lost their ability to vote. Voters who had trouble with the tabulators were asked to place their ballots in a secure ballot box, which were transported to county election headquarters and tabulated by running machines.
However, the state attorney general’s office asked for an explanation in a Nov. 19 letter, saying there were “firsthand witness accounts” that raised concerns about whether Maricopa County complied with the state election law.
“The people of Arizona deserve a full report and explanation of the countless problems that occurred in connection with Maricopa County’s administration of the 2022 general election,” Wright wrote.
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According to Maricopa County officials, about 17,000 Election Day ballots were affected by the problems and were counted later instead of being counted at the polling center. Only 16 percent of the 1.56 million votes cast in Maricopa County were cast in person on Election Day, the Associated Press reported.
Although Mohave County did not experience problems with its ballots, board members voted to delay certification of the results until the Nov. 28 deadline in what supporters acknowledged was a “statement politics”.
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“It’s a political statement, I’m not going to lie,” said board member Hildy Angius. “We did it in 2020, it doesn’t make it difficult for us. It won’t make us responsible. It’s, again, a statement of solidarity with other counties that are doing it.”
Officials in southeast Cochise County also voted Friday to delay certification of their election results and asked the secretary of state to confirm that their vote-counting machines were legally certified. Before the vote, the county had heard testimony from three people who alleged the certifications had expired.
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On Monday, State Elections Director Kori Lorick provided the county board with certifications for vote counting machines from the US Election Assistance Commission. Lorick also warned the board that if the secretary of state does not receive the certification by Dec. 5, all Cochise County votes will not be counted. Not certifying results in Cochise County would benefit Democrats, as some Republicans won as much as 60 percent of the vote there.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.