Republican officials in Arizona County refused to certify the midterm results

Some officials who subscribe to voter fraud theories persist despite no evidence anything was wrong with the tally earlier this month

Republican officials in rural Arizona on Monday refused to certify the results of the 2022 midterm elections, despite no evidence there was anything wrong with the tally from earlier this month.

Some officials who espouse voter fraud theories are sticking around, defying state deadlines and setting the stage for a legal battle.

The move came amid pressure from Republicans to reject a result showing the Democrats had won the top race, and the county held out for a grueling afternoon that is the deadline for several counties to confirm results.

State election officials said they would sue the Cochise county if the board of trustees missed Monday's deadline to approve the official vote count, known as the canvas.

Two Republican county superintendents delayed the vote until hearing once more about concerns about certifying ballot tabulators, even though election officials have repeatedly said the equipment was properly approved.

Democratic election attorney Marc Elias vowed on Twitter to sue the county. Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs' office previously said it would sue if the county missed the deadline, even though she lost there to challenger Kari Lake, a journalist turned Republican extremist who supports Donald Trump's dishonest insistence that he win the 2020 presidential election. .

"The supervisory board had all the information they needed to authorize this election and failed to uphold their responsibility to Cochise voters," Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for Hobbs, said in an email.

Democratic election attorney Marc Elias also vowed, via Twitter, to sue the county.

Elsewhere, the Republican superintendent in the Mohave area postponed a certification vote until late Monday after hearing comments from angry residents about the issue of printing ballots in the Maricopa area.

Officials in Maricopa County, the largest state where the state capital Phoenix is ​​located, said everyone had the opportunity to vote and all official ballots were counted.

The election results have been certified largely flawless in jurisdictions across the country despite heavy punches by the right during their campaign seeking to undermine the public's faith in US democracy. Many of the most extreme candidates lost.

But it's a tougher road in Arizona, which has become a focal point of efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election and push a false narrative of fraud, following Joe Biden's shock win in the state — an outcome that Fox News first cited, another fact that angered Trump when he railed against losing the White House.

Arizona has long been a GOP stronghold, but this month Democrats won most of the high-profile elections over Trumpist Republicans.

Lake, who lost the gubernatorial election to Hobbs, and Mark Finchem, the nominee for secretary of state, have refused to concede their midterm election loss. They blamed Republican election officials in Maricopa County for problems with some ballot printers.

David Becker, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research, said officials delaying certification fostered illegitimate distrust in elections and disenfranchised voters.

“In the past year, it has been an unprecedented dereliction of duty for local officials to violate their oath of office and refuse to certify election results, citing 'gut feeling' or suspected problems in [another] jurisdiction,” Becker said.

Navajo, a rural Republican-leaning area, conservative Yavapai area, and Coconino, staunchly loyal to the Democratic Party, voted for certification on Monday.

In the Cochise area, GOP watchdogs last week demanded that the secretary of state prove vote-counting machines were legally certified before they could approve election results.

State election director Kori Lorick said the machine was properly certified for election use. He wrote in a letter last week that the state would sue to force the Cochise county watchdog to pass, and if they did not do so by the deadline for the statewide canvas on December 5, the county vote would be excluded.

The move threatens to flip the winners in at least two close races -- a seat in the US House of Representatives and a public school principal -- from Republican to Democrat.

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