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Cochise County Supervisors vote to delay election canvass

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TUCSON (KVOA)- The Cochise County Board of Supervisors voted last Friday to table the county's election canvass until November 28th, the statewide deadline for Arizona counties to canvass election results from the midterm elections.

The two Republican members, Supervisor Peggy Judd and Supervisor Tom Crosby, voted to delay the canvass after three members of the public claimed, without evidence, voting tabulation equipment had not been properly certified.

The men, identified by the Associated Press as Tom Rice, Brian Steiner and Daniel Wood, claimed the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission allowed certifications for testing companies to lapse, and that voided the certifications of vote tabulation equipment used across the state. "These three men, or some combination of them, have filed at least four cases with similar claims with the Arizona Supreme Court since 2021. All to have the state's 2020 elections results thrown out and the court has dismissed all of them for lack of evidence." said Don Henninger, co-lead with the Arizona Democracy Resilience Network.

The state elections director, Kori Lorick, told the board those claims are false. "The equipment used in Cochise County is properly certified under both federal and state laws and requirements," Lorick said. She is vowing legal action to force the board to accept the results.

Ron Barber, co-lead with the Arizona Democracy Resilience Network said, "The board of supervisors does not have authority under law to reject the results presented to them by their elections director."  Henninger said the issue may require legal intervention. "It could end up in court. Which is a distinct possibility with quick action, with a court ordered mandate forcing them to canvass. And to move forward so the 47,000 people who voted in Cochise County could have their votes counted," Henninger said.

All Arizona counties are under the November 28 deadline and so far, Cochise County is the only county to delay their canvass. The delay could jeopardize the state certification on December 5, that's when the official vote total is tallied. That would also impact at least one statewide recount. 

This is just the latest election drama in Cochise County. Last month, the Board of Supervisors voted to conduct a total hand count of midterm ballots. Crosby and Judd also filed a lawsuit against the county elections director, Lisa Marra, earlier this week seeking to force the hand-count. They dropped the case Wednesday.

The Arizona Democracy Resilience Network is calling on the Cochise County Board of Supervisors change its decision and certify the vote in the county.  "Cochise County is a strong republican area of the state," Barber said, "And if they're disenfranchising people, it's the voters who are republicans who are in the majority in that county who are being disenfranchised. It's not going to hurt democrats as much as it's going to hurt republicans." 

The Arizona Democracy Resilience Network is part of an effort by the Carter Center to uphold the electoral process and democracy in the United States. The bipartisan organization is led by retired Democratic Congressman Ron Barber and Republican former newspaper publisher Don Henninger. 

 News 4 Tucson reached out to the republican members of the Cochise County Board of Supervisors, as well as the elections director. We did not get any response.

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