Cochise County, Arizona Sued for Failure to Canvass Election Results

WASHINGTON, D.C. On Monday, Nov. 28, the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans (the Alliance) and an Arizona voter filed a lawsuit in Arizona against the Cochise County Board of Supervisors shortly after the supervisors voted 2-1 to postpone canvassing the 2022 election results, meaning the county will miss the legally mandated deadline of Nov. 28. Canvassing is the process where 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. While the Democratic chair of the board, Ann English, encouraged the board to canvass the results, the two Republican members, Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd, voted against doing so. The plaintiffs allege that this failure to perform the “ministerial and mandatory, not discretionary,” task of canvassing the county’s election results violates “the plain statutory text” of Arizona election law and threatens to disenfranchise Cochise County voters “whose votes may be excluded from the statewide returns if the Board does not canvass the County’s election results.” 

The plaintiffs argue that the board’s decision not to canvass the election results is “unjustifiable, based on entirely unsubstantiated, vague allegations that the county’s electronic voting machines could not be trusted.” The plaintiffs request a writ of mandamus (a court order compelling a party to take a certain action) to order the board to canvass the county’s election results in accordance with Arizona law.

This lawsuit comes after both Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and the Alliance sent separate letters threatening legal action if the county refused to canvass — a move that would almost certainly delay certification of Arizona election results. The Cochise County Board of Supervisors created chaos earlier in the election cycle by attempting to conduct numerous iterations of a hand count. The actions of the board’s Republican members are indicative of a larger movement in which Republicans seek to politicize ministerial roles in an attempt to undermine election results and cast doubt on the electoral process. 

Read the petition here.

Learn more about the case here.