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Arizona is Still in Turmoil Three Weeks After the Election Because of the Results

During a meeting to approve the results of the midterm elections on Monday, elected officials in Arizona’s most populous county were heckled, labeled “traitors,” and told that the way they handled the voting justified a “violent revolution.” In Maricopa County, sheriff’s deputies stood to watch during a routine procedural action.

200 miles away, the county board of a tiny, ruby-red county in the southeast of Arizona voted 2-1 to postpone the certification of the results, flouting a state law deadline and potentially compromising the state’s timeline for completing the results.

Leaders in another GOP-controlled county in the opposite part of the state debated doing the same and postponed their decision-making until the afternoon, but they ultimately decided to certify the results.

The events of Monday in Arizona demonstrated the depths of mistrust in election administration in the state as well as the willingness of Republican candidates and elected officials to sanction — even stoke — that mistrust. In Arizona, issues with ballot printer ink at about a third of polling places in the Phoenix area have fueled unproven GOP claims of a stolen election.

In Arizona, which has long been a hotbed of election denialism stoked by the late president Donald Trump over a period of years and perpetuated by his supporters, the most recent election has increased distrust of the democratic process.

Voters supported Democrats over Republicans in the most important races earlier this month; the attorney general’s race, where Democrats were leading by 510 votes out of more than 2.5 million ballots cast, was going to an automated recount.

Republican activists pressed county leaders to refrain from canvassing the election on Monday, the deadline set by Arizona law for all counties to finish the process. Top officials in 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties upheld the law and certified the election results.

Cochise County was one exception, as the board of supervisors is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the state. The consequent uncertainty for the state’s procedure for finalizing the results and making sure that winning candidates are seated in January has never happened before.

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Ann English, the lone Democratic supervisor in Cochise County, who abstained from the vote to put off consideration of certification until Friday, said that by failing to certify by November 28 as required by Arizona election laws, they had broken the law.

Requests for a response from the two Republican supervisors who supported the delay went unanswered. Additionally, the county’s attorney did not reply. Republican officials in Mohave County, which is in the northwest of the state, thought about doing the same thing but finally, albeit grudgingly, followed the law.

Ron Gould, the chairman of the Republican Party, stated, “I vote aye under duress.” I learned today that I must vote “yes” or risk being detained and charged with a criminal. During a public meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, a woman speaks. (From The Washington Post’s Caitlin O’Hara)

Live-streaming the public meeting is a man sporting buttons from rallies with the previous president Donald Trump. (From The Washington Post’s Caitlin O’Hara) Not just Arizona had sporadic attempts to block the endorsement of election results.

By a vote of 2-2, with one abstention, officials in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County, which ran out of ballots on election day, failed to reach a Monday deadline for certification. The same day that Cochise County decided to miss the certification deadline, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), who was expected to win the governor’s race, filed a lawsuit. In order to compel that county to certify the election results, her administration intended to petition the court. 

Tens of thousands of votes might be at stake, as well as Republican predictions of triumphs in contests for a U.S. House seat and the statewide superintendent of schools if the county chooses not to comply.

On December 5, Arizonan officials were supposed to certify the results of the state’s elections. They are permitted under state law to delay certification until December 8, according to attorneys. It’s unclear how the state’s count will be affected if Cochise County continues to refuse certification.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) has not yet made a public statement about how he plans to handle the approaching deadline for the state to certify the results. Because of the extensive issues with ballot printers, Brnovich’s office has stated that Maricopa County, which is home to Phoenix and more than half of the state’s voters, may have contravened statutory rules in the administration of the election.

The Washington Post asked Brnovich’s spokeswoman many times how he intended to tackle the responsibility of witness certification, but they never returned their calls. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will “perform his job,” a representative for the governor told The Post. Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel of the Arizona Supreme Court, according to a spokesperson, “will attend” the state certification ceremony “as the statute requires.”

Kari Lake, the losing GOP candidate for governor, has refused to accept defeat, citing Maricopa County printer issues that forced voters to line up or place their votes in safe drawers.

County officials insisted that no one was prevented from voting as a result of the technical issues in a report published on Sunday in response to the attorney general’s office’s allegations of potential statutory violations.

The same decision was reached by an Arizona judge when he rejected a Republican request to extend the voting period on Election Day. Former television news anchor Lake released videos of her fans criticizing Maricopa County authorities at the board of supervisors meeting on Monday. 

They asked the board to postpone certification, but they got no response. Four Republicans were among its five members, and all five agreed to vote in favor of the election canvass. During a secret meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, protesters gather. (From The Washington Post’s Caitlin O’Hara)

For the gathering, dozens of protesters came. (From The Washington Post’s Caitlin O’Hara)
The extraordinary five-hour meeting came to an end with the vote, during which a sizable crowd gathered in the hearing room to pray and mock the county authorities. Speaking to the county officials, one person said, “You guys represent evil.

Residents spoke in open forums on their election day experiences, some as voters and others as poll workers or observers. An individual who identified himself as a poll worker provided an account of issues with the electronic check-in books that he said led to some voters leaving the polling station.

One of the tabulators at her location had reportedly rejected ballots during a test run on the day before the election, according to a lady who claimed to be a poll observer. The county board was the target of slander that included the claim that its members had engaged in “treason punishable by the death penalty.”

 In reference to a John F. Kennedy quotation from 1962, the woman who made the accusation also added, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution imperative.”

Others referred to biblical passages and a higher power; one warned the executive committee that God would execute justice in the hereafter. A woman informed the board, “The Godly shall exult in the victory of the right; they shall walk in the bloodstained fields of killed evil men.” Finally, everyone will understand that doing well is rewarded and that there is a just God.

“Amen,” cries erupted from the audience. About 200 people attended the meeting, which was held in the board’s auditorium in downtown Phoenix. Occasionally, attendees were warned they would be asked to leave if they continued to disrupt the discussion with loud outbursts.

Some people vented their rage at Stephen Richer, the Republican in charge of early voting and voter registration in Maricopa County, whose attempts to inspire confidence in the system collided head-on with the technical issues.

Others vented their anger at the board, which has led the front in defending the fairness of the county’s elections since Trump singled out the second-largest voting jurisdiction in the country as a target for 2020.

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