Arizona county DELAYS certifying its election results in a ‘political statement’

Arizona county DELAYS certifying its election results in a ‘political statement’ protest at the issues with Maricopa County – as AG demands an explanation for why results in Kari Lake’s state took so long

  • Mohave County is the second GOP-controlled county to delay certification
  • It follows a vote by Cochise
  • Board members called it ‘political statement,’ saying they would certify Nov. 28
  • Comes after Democrat Katie Hobbs defeated Republican Kari Lake
  • Lake has refused to concede, citing Maricopa voting machine issues
  • Lake called it ‘the most chaotic in Arizona’s history’
  • She traveled to Mar-a-Lago Thursday 

A member of the board of supervisors in Mohave County, Arizona says the body voted to delay certifying its election results Monday as a ‘political statement.’

The move came after Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake, who was defeated by Democrat Katie Hobbs in projections last week, said she planned to contest her loss and blasted the state’s election administration.

‘It’s a political statement, I’m not going to lie,’ said  board member Hildy Angius. ‘We did it in 2020, it doesn’t hinder us. It’s not going to hold us liable.’ 

‘It’s, again, a statement of solidarity with other counties who are doing this,’ he said, Fox News reported.

Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake claimed the 2022 election was 'botched and broken beyond repair,' as an Arizona county board of supervises voted to delay certifying its results in what one board member called a 'political statement'

Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake claimed the 2022 election was ‘botched and broken beyond repair,’ as an Arizona county board of supervises voted to delay certifying its results in what one board member called a ‘political statement’

The move came after Lake attacked the state’s elections as ‘the most chaotic in Arizona’s history’ and ripped Maricopa County for taking 13 days to count its ballots, after campaigning in part on claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. 

She claimed her own 2022 election was ‘botched and broken beyond repair.’ 

The county’s decision comes after another Republican-led county, Cochise, also voted to delay certification.

Republicans are claiming irregularities in Maricopa County, the state’s largest, where voting machine issues led to long lines on election days.

Lake, who has yet to concede, has featured voter complaints about the machines on her social media postings. But the New York Times contacted dozens of people who were referenced and reported ‘nearly all‘ were ultimately able to cast a ballot. 

Lake traveled to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, speaking to the America First Policy Institute, which is stacked with former Trump administration officials. 

Republican State AG Mark Brnovich’s office on Saturday demanded Maricopa County provide answers in response to ‘hundreds’ of complaints about election administration. 

‘These complaints go beyond pure speculation, but include first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa’s lawful compliance with Arizona election law,’ wrote Jennifer Wright, who heads the state’s Elections Integrity Unit.

‘Furthermore, statements made by both Chairman (Bill) Gates and Recorder (Stephen) Richer, along with information Maricopa County released through official modes of communication appear to confirm potential statutory violations of Title 16,’ she wrote.

Printer problems at 70 locations required voters either to wait in line or travel to deposit their ballots at secure boxes or take them to other polling places. 

His demand comes before a deadline for the county to certify its results. 

Mohave on Monday became the second Republican-controlled Arizona county to delay certifying the results of this month’s election as a protest against voting issues in Maricopa County. Some GOP officials have blamed the problems for their losses in top races including the contest for governor.

Maricopa has finished counting the last remaining ballots.

Arizona voters elected a Democratic governor, Katie Hobbs, and gave Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly a full six-year term in office. 

But the race for attorney general was heading to a mandatory recount once the election is certified by all 15 counties and the secretary of state. Democrat Kris Mayes ended up ahead of Republican Abraham Hamadeh by just 510 votes on Monday after Maricopa County counted about 1,200 remaining ballots. Nearly 2.6 million Arizonans voted.

The split vote by the board of supervisors in Mohave County in northwest Arizona came with an explicit vow to certify the election on the Nov. 28 deadline. 

Members called it a political statement to show how upset they were with the issues in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and about 60% of the the state’s voters.

The all-Republican boards of two other counties, Pinal and La Paz, voted with little fanfare Monday to certify their election results.

Mohave became the second state county to delay certification, following Cochise in Arizona’s southeast. The board there made its decision Friday without a promise to certify the results by the deadline for doing so, despite setting a meeting to consider it. Instead the two Republicans who constitute a majority on the board demanded that the secretary of state prove their vote-counting machines were legally certified.

FILE - An election worker gathers tabulated ballots to be boxed inside the Maricopa County Recorders Office on Nov. 10, 2022, in Phoenix. A second Republican-controlled Arizona county on Monday, Nov. 21, delayed certifying the results of this month's election as a protest against voting issues in Maricopa County that some GOP officials have blamed for their losses in top races including the contest for governor. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

FILE – An election worker gathers tabulated ballots to be boxed inside the Maricopa County Recorders Office on Nov. 10, 2022, in Phoenix. A second Republican-controlled Arizona county on Monday, Nov. 21, delayed certifying the results of this month’s election as a protest against voting issues in Maricopa County that some GOP officials have blamed for their losses in top races including the contest for governor. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

The state elections director told them they were, but the two board members sided instead with claims put forward by a trio of men who alleged the certifications had lapsed.

On Monday, state Elections Director Kori Lorick provided the county board with certifications for the vote-counting machines from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Lorick also warned the board that the state would sue if they did not certify on time.

County boards do not have the legal right to either change the results provided by their elections officials or refuse to certify them. And Lorick wrote that if the certification is not received by the secretary of state by Dec. 5, all the Cochise County votes will go uncounted.

That would give a boost to Democrats up and down the ballot in tight state races, since some Republican candidates got as much as 60% of the vote in the county.

Maricopa County had problems at about 30% of its vote centers Nov. 8 when tabulators were unable to read some ballots.

County officials have repeatedly said that all the ballots were counted and that no one lost their ability to vote. Those with ballots that could not be read were told to place them in a secure box to be tabulated later by more robust machines at county elections headquarters.

Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich wants an explanation of how the printer problems happened before Maricopa County does its certification on Nov. 28. The head of his Elections Integrity Unit also wants to know how some of the uncounted ballots were mixed up at the polling sites and an explanation for issues experienced by voters who left to go to another vote center with operating tabulators.

‘Arizonans deserve a full report and accounting of the myriad problems that occurred in relation to Maricopa County administration of the 2022 general election,’ the head of the unit, Jennifer Wright, wrote.

Maricopa County board Chair Bill Gates said the county will respond ‘with transparency as we have done throughout this election.’

The county said that about 17,000 Election Day ballots were involved and had to be counted later instead of at the polling place. Only 16% of the 1.56 million votes cast in Maricopa County were made in-person on Election Day.

In Mohave County, the board and the chair of the county Republican Party praised their elections director. But Jeanne Kentch joined GOP state chair Kelli Ward in saying Republicans were disenfranchised because of issues in Maricopa County.

‘Mohave County voters, their votes have been diluted,’ Kentch said. ‘Their votes have been worth less than they were prior to this vote due to the mismanagement and the disfunction of the Maricopa County elections department.’

The vote to delay the Mohave County vote canvass was not unanimous, although all five board members are Republicans. Member Jean Bishop called the decision ‘kind of ludicrous.’

‘We’re not Maricopa County, we’re Mohave County,’ she said. ‘Our vote is solid.’

The county board did the same after the 2020 election as former President Donald Trump pushed concerns about his loss in Arizona and pointed to Maricopa County as the source of his defeat. The board eventually accepted the results, however.

‘This is 2020 redux,’ board member Hildy Angius said. ‘If we don’t certify today, we’re just making a statement of solidarity.’

Ron Gould, a former state lawmaker, agreed that it was only a message.

‘It is purely a political statement,’ Gould said. ‘But it’s the only way that we can make that statement.’

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