Arizona County Blocking Election Certification Must Certify Votes By Thursday Night—As Conspiracy-Fueled Refusal Keeps House Race Hanging In The Balance


An Arizona judge has ordered rural, Republican-leaning Cochise County to certify its election results by 5 p.m. Mountain time Thursday, saying a local board overstepped its authority when it refused to certify due to unfounded conspiracy surrounding the midterm election results, making it the only county in the nation yet to approve its results.

Key Facts

Judge Casey McGinley ruled the county’s three-member board of supervisors must meet Thursday to certify election results following a 2-1 vote Monday to block the certification, missing the state’s deadline for transmitting results to the secretary of state’s office.

McGinley did not specify what will happen if the county does submit the results by 5 p.m., but it’s possible the court could force the certification if local officials keep refusing.

Arizona Secretary of State and Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs (D) sued the county on Monday—the date local officials “had a statutory duty to certify the results.”

Cochise County is the final holdout of a small handful of counties that did not swiftly certify the midterm election results, opting to continue blocking certification as Trump-endorsed GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake repeatedly argues—without evidence—that fraud somehow kept her from defeating Hobbs.

Crucial Quote

“Today’s court decision was a win for Arizona’s democracy,” Hobbs tweeted following the order.

Key Background

Republican candidates around the country performed well short of expectations in the midterm elections, including in Arizona, where Lake and Senate nominee Blake Masters both lost. Republicans largely blamed the losses on strategy failures, rather than falsely claiming widespread fraud like in 2020, but Arizona has been an exception. Former President Donald Trump heavily supported both Lake and Masters, with Lake centering her campaign around the 2020 fraud claims and “election integrity.” Lake has refused to concede defeat and suggested that fraud may have kept her from defeating Hobbs. Lake’s campaign tweeted support for Cochise County on Wednesday night, saying, “Thank you for holding the line.”

Surprising Fact

If the county supervisors refuse to comply with certifying the election, and the court chooses not to force the results to be sent to Hobbs by a December 8 state certification deadline, the approximately 47,000 Cochise County votes will not be counted. Throwing out those votes would flip Arizona’s Sixth Congressional District from Republican to Democrat, since GOP nominee Juan Ciscomani only won the race for the seat by just over 5,200 votes (including votes from Cochise County).

Further Reading

Arizona County Still Hasn’t Certified Its Midterm Results—Here’s Why It Could Cost Republicans A House Seat (Forbes)

Democrat Katie Hobbs Defeats Election Denier Kari Lake For Arizona Governor (Forbes)

Not A Red Wave But A Ripple: Biggest Surprises From Election Night (Forbes)