Arizona Judge Denies Request to Block Cochise County Recorder From Assuming Power Over Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, April 18, an Arizona judge declined to grant Attorney General Kris Mayes’ (D) request to temporarily block an agreement that transfers election oversight from the Cochise County supervisors (Tom Crosby, Ann English and Peggy Judd) to Cochise County Recorder David Stevens (R).

The agreement, adopted on Feb. 28, 2023, with the support of the two Republican 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.” On March 7, Mayes filed a lawsuit on behalf of Arizona against the three Cochise County supervisors and the county recorder alleging that the agreement violates the Arizona Constitution and Arizona law. Mayes requested that the court temporarily block the implementation of the agreement, but an Arizona judge declined to grant this request following a hearing that was held yesterday. This means that for the time being, Cochise County Recorder David Stevens, an elected Republican and election conspiracist, will have the authority to oversee and administer Cochise County’s elections.

Notably, this unprecedented move to transfer power to the county recorder — who has called election denier and defeated secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem (R) “one of his best friends” and is deeply embedded in far-right communities that push election conspiracies about electronic ballot tabulators — comes in the wake of Cochise County’s growing national profile as a hotbed for election denialism. During the 2022 midterm elections, the county was sued for both attempting to implement illegal hand-counting procedures and for refusing to certify the results of the election. 

Learn more about the case here.