Cochise County, Arizona Elections Director Resigns, Citing Threats

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the elections director of Cochise County, Arizona announced her resignation, citing the “outrageous and physically and emotionally threatening” working atmosphere. Lisa Marra has led elections in Cochise County, a deep red and rural county in Arizona, for five years. However, during the 2022 election cycle, the Cochise County board of supervisors tried to push the county to conduct a 100% hand count of election results, including early ballots. A legal back and forth ensued and the plan was deemed illegal under state law.

Throughout this chaos, Marra urged the board of supervisors to follow state law. In a stunning move, two Republican supervisors personally sued Marra to compel her to execute their potentially illegal plan. In a letter to county officials on Tuesday, obtained by the Washington Post, Marra cited this lawsuit from her colleagues as contributing to “objectively difficult and unpleasant working conditions.” 

Additionally, after the November 2022 elections, the Cochise County board purposefully missed its legally mandated deadline to canvass county-level election results. Canvassing is the process in which local election officials confirm results by reviewing and finalizing the unofficial results reported on election night. After counties complete canvassing, states can then certify election results. Following two lawsuits, including one filed by then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), a judge ordered the county to complete its non-discretionary, mandatory duty and the supervisors complied

Marra’s resignation comes in advance of a February public meeting on voting machines where “local election deniers will present testimony as ‘experts’,” according to the letter. Over the past two years, there has been a rise in intimidation and harassment of election workers. A Brennan Center survey revealed that one in five election officials indicated that they are likely to leave their jobs before 2024.