Cochise County, Arizona Plans Unprecedented Move to Transfer Election Oversight

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Feb. 14, the Board of Supervisors in Cochise County, Arizona discussed transferring election authority from the elections department to County Recorder David Stevens, with two of the three members supporting the unprecedented move. This meeting comes after the resignation of long-time Elections Director Lisa Marra, who cited the “outrageous and physically and emotionally threatening” working atmosphere. 

Marra 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, prompting a lawsuit. Throughout this chaos, Marra urged the board of supervisors to follow state law. In a stunning move, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby, the two Republican supervisors on the three-member board, personally sued Marra to compel her to execute their potentially illegal plan. The same two supervisors purposefully missed their legally mandated deadline to canvass county-level election results after the November 2022 election, throwing the certification of Arizona’s statewide results into chaos before lawsuits stepped in.

According to Herald Review, Democratic Supervisor Ann English, who opposed last year’s antics and the latest move, pointed out that no other county in Arizona places this type of election oversight under the control of the county recorder, a partisan elected official. Judd and Crosby nonetheless want to proceed with the transition of powers, though a vote to finalize has not yet been scheduled. 

Stevens, who will likely soon run Cochise County’s elections, pushed for the hand count last fall. He has called 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.

Read more about Stevens here.

Read more about the election drama in Cochise County here.