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After a Few Counties Refuse to Certify the Midterm Results, Lawsuits Are Very Likely

A tiny number of counties are delaying certification of the midterm election results, leaving them vulnerable to lawsuits and court orders compelling them to do so in the coming days. It’s unlikely that the attempt to thwart certification in a few locations will prevent any election winners from taking office.

However, they demonstrate how a small group of individuals with key positions in the nation’s decentralized electoral system can attempt to sabotage the procedure and try to create disorder in elections. Additionally, they show how influential former President Donald Trump’s cronies and fans around the nation are in his unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about widespread electoral fraud.

At least two counties decided not to certify their respective county elections on Monday: Cochise County in Arizona, where county supervisors decided to postpone certification until at least Friday, past the required deadline of Monday; and Luzerne County in Pennsylvania, where the county board was deadlocked 2-2 on a certification vote, with one abstention who later declared he would vote to certify at a later meeting.

Even after the 2020 election, counties failing to certify elections is largely unusual in recent American history, and litigation is essentially assured. Shortly after the vote, Marc Elias, a well-known Democratic lawyer, tweeted that the Arizona county will be sued after his company submitted a letter on behalf of a seniors group threatening legal action if the board did not certify the results.

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After making good on that threat on Monday night, his business filed a lawsuit in state court asking the court to order Cochise to certify the election results. “Defendants have made it plain that they will not fulfill their non-discretionary, required legal responsibility to complete the canvass by the statutory deadline for doing so by voting against canvassing the results of the 2022 general election until at least December 2, 2022. The lawsuit claimed that by doing this, the defendants were breaking Arizona law.

Late on Monday, Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state for Arizona, also filed a lawsuit with comparable objectives. State elections director Kori Lorick threatened legal action in a letter last week that her office issued to the Cochise County board. She also warned that the state would go forward regardless of whether the board certified by the date for canvassing set by the state.

Democrat Hobbs is also the state’s incoming governor. Kari Lake, a former TV anchor, and Republican lost to her; she has resisted offering her concession. Attorneys for Hobbs argued that the Secretary would be forced to finish the statewide canvass by December 8 without including the ballots from Cochise County without this Court’s involvement.

“Tens of thousands of voters in Cochise County should not lose their voting rights due to the Board’s unprecedented inactivity.” By 18 points, Lake won the county. The Cochise County Supervisors agreed on Monday to convene a special meeting for Friday to discuss the security of their voting machines because they wanted to hear more information regarding whether or not they had the required certification for use in the midterm elections.

After the Cochise County vote on Monday, the secretary of state’s office released a statement that did not specifically address lawsuits. According to Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for the agency, “The Secretary of State’s Office submitted supporting documents that verified Cochise County’s voting equipment was legally certified.” “The Board of Supervisors possessed all the data necessary to certify this election, but they disregarded their duty to Cochise voters.”

On Election Day in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County, voting locations ran out of paper ballots early in the day. Voters were eventually permitted to cast ballots there thanks to a court order, and Spotlight PA reported that the district attorney in the area is looking into the shortfall.

The Democratic lawyer Elias appeared to hint at a prospective lawsuit there. Additionally, a late-afternoon statement from the Pennsylvania Department of State stated that the agency “has reached out to [Luzerne] authorities to inquire about the board’s decision and their intended next steps.”

However, even in the absence of an immediate court order, the Luzerne results will probably be confirmed soon. In an interview with the Associated Press later on Monday, county board Democrat Daniel Schramm, who had previously abstained from the vote, said he would shortly vote to validate the results.

“I wanted to conduct research to determine just how many people had voting restrictions. I couldn’t find any,” Schramm told the AP, adding that when election officials got in touch with two-thirds of the poll workers, “they stated nobody was turned away.” A meeting to certify the results has been scheduled for Wednesday, according to the AP.

Democrats are getting ready to alter the presidential primary schedule. The Supreme Court is likely to overturn New York corruption convictions because Mark Meadows was compelled to testify in the Trump investigation.

Rep. Donald McEachin of Virginia passes away at 61. During the meeting, a county counsel had warned the board that if the county refused to certify the election, the state or candidates might “file actions.” Recent elections have not seen many instances of counties refusing to certify valid results.

Otero County, N.M., first declined to certify the outcomes of the state’s summer primary election earlier this year. The county was required to certify after the New Mexico secretary of state filed a lawsuit, and it ultimately complied.

Voters go by candidate yard signs close to a polling place. Voters in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, walk past candidate yard signs as they cast their ballots in person for the general election on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

The board meeting for Cochise County was brief on Monday morning. However, irate citizens urged that county officials do not certify the vote during the Luzerne County meeting and another meeting in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest county, occasionally called for a new election to be held.

Republicans Bill Gates, the board chair, and Stephen Richer, the recorder, were the targets of protests in Maricopa after numerous polling booths in the county’s districts were unable to read ballots on election day. (People who had difficulties voting could have opted to submit their ballots to be counted at a central voting location; some sites experienced long waits.) During a public hearing on Monday, one person seemed to demand that Gates be hanged for treason.

The Republican-dominated board in Maricopa unanimously decided to certify the election following a lengthy hearing. Lake, the unsuccessful candidate for governor, tweeted out multiple videos of people criticizing Maricopa County election authorities.

Although there were objections elsewhere, the vote was still confirmed by the authorities. For instance, the results of the state’s election were certified by the state’s bipartisan board of state canvassers on Monday. The board refused Kristina Karamo’s request to not certify, and the canvassers briefly departed the room as a result of the disruptions. Kristina Karamo was the Trump-endorsed candidate for secretary of state who was soundly defeated earlier this month.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Republican board chair Tony Daunt said during the meeting that many of the questions that come up stem from a lack of understanding, which is regrettably fueled by candidates and party officials on both sides of the aisle who feed into this nonsense and make claims that enrage everyone because it’s a quick financial windfall for them and that’s risky to our system. And right now, talking about this is akin to attempting to douse a forest fire with a Dixie cup.

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