The top election official under Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state and governor-elect, Katie Hobbs, threatened local officials with prosecution if they didn’t certify the midterm results, leading them to do so “under duress,” the Daily Caller reported.
Arizona State Elections Director Kori Lorick said the state would “have no other choice” but to “take all legal action necessary” against Mohave County’s five-member Board of Supervisors, including referring individuals for criminal charges, if they did not “perform their ministerial duty to” certify the election results on the state’s deadline.
The board unanimously certified the results on the Nov. 28 deadline after toying with the idea of not doing so, Arizona Public Media reported. But two board members, including Chairman Ron Gould, said the certification finally came only “under duress.”
“I found out today that I have no choice but to vote aye, or I’ll be arrested and charged with a felony,” Gould said. “I don’t think that that is what our founders had in mind when they chose a democratic process to elect their leaders, or our form of self-government, and I find that very disheartening.”
Votes could not be counted at almost one-third of the polling places in Arizona’s most populated county, Maricopa, on Election Day, inconveniencing voters and fueling theories of election fraud. Kari Lake, the failed Republican candidate for governor, called for a do-over election in Maricopa County over the issue.
Maricopa County finally certified its election on the state deadline of Nov. 28. But two other Republican-controlled counties – Mohave and Cochise – dragged out their own certifications, triggering a political backlash that saw at least one lawsuit filed and several county-level officials threatened with prosecution.
Mohave County’s Board of Supervisors voted to delay their certification until the deadline, promising the certification would occur then, local outlet KJZZ reported. Gould, the chairman, said the point was “to allow any complaints to rise to the surface” and also to “make a political statement” on Maricopa County’s “poor handling” of the election.
Exclusive reporting by the Daily Caller shows that Lorick pressured Mohave County officials on multiple occasions to certify the results, including the morning of the deadline. She said it was their “non-discretionary duty” and that voters would be “disenfranchised” if they did not perform it.
In Cochise County, officials voted against certifying on the deadline, citing supposedly unresolved concerns with voting machines. They certified the results last week under a court order in a lawsuit filed by Hobbs, NPR reported.