Lawsuit filed by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) on behalf of Arizona against Cochise County, the three Cochise County supervisors (Tom Crosby, Ann English and Peggy Judd) and Cochise County Recorder David Stevens regarding an agreement transferring election oversight from the supervisors to the recorder. The agreement, adopted on Feb. 28, 2023, with the support of two out of three supervisors, gives the county recorder — which is a partisan elected position — “almost all of the elections powers and duties conferred by statute upon the Cochise County Board of Supervisors,” according to the complaint. The agreement gives the county recorder the “responsibility for the operation and administration of elections,” which among other powers includes running the official canvass of county and special elections. The attorney general alleges that the recorder “has unlawfully aggrandized his power, and the Board has unlawfully and almost completely offloaded its statutory duties over elections” in violation of the Arizona Constitution and Arizona law. The complaint also asserts that Cochise County would misuse public funds if the county recorder exercises “authority over elections matters over which the Board has exclusive statutory authority.” The attorney general requests that the agreement giving the county recorder these election duties not be implemented and that the recorder be prevented “from exercising the authority purportedly given to him in the Agreement” and from “making unlawful payments of public funds.”
On April 18, during a hearing on Mayes’ request for a preliminary injunction, an Arizona judge declined to grant Mayes’ request to temporarily block the enforcement of the agreement.