Arizona secretary of state seeks investigation of Republicans who balked at certifying election
(CNN) — The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office on Friday asked state and local prosecutors to investigate and take enforcement action against two Republican officials who had balked at certifying their county’s election results by the legal deadline.
In the referral letter, State Elections Director Kori Lorick said Cochise County Supervisors Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd “knew they had a statutory requirement to canvass the election by November 28, but instead chose to act in violation of the law, putting false election narratives ahead of Cochise County’s voters.”
The supervisors’ “blatant act of defying Arizona’s election laws risks establishing a dangerous precedent that we must discourage,” Lorick wrote in the letter sent to Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre. “I ask that you investigate this conduct and take all necessary action to hold these public officers accountable.”
When reached by phone Friday, Judd said: “I’m not talking to anyone anymore. Sorry.”
In an email Saturday to CNN in response to questions about the referral to prosecutors, Crosby said: “There has to be intent which is missing.”
Brnovich’s office confirmed via email that it had received the letter but did not add further comment.
McIntyre did not immediately respond to CNN’s inquiry.
The referral comes a day after Judd and the board’s sole Democrat, Chairwoman Ann English, voted to certify the midterm election results after a judge ordered them to do so — guaranteeing that the county’s roughly 47,000 general election votes would be included in next week’s certification of statewide results.
Thursday’s vote, which Crosby skipped, capped a high-profile confrontation between the two Republicans on the three-member board and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat and the state’s governor-elect.
Hobbs and a retirees’ group had sued to force the certification.
The Republicans on the county board had initially delayed signing off on the results, citing claims that electronic vote-tallying machines were not properly certified.
State election officials said the machines had been tested and certified and argued that the Republicans on the panel were advancing debunked conspiracy theories.
Lorick’s letter cites three state laws that establish criminal penalties for “failing to perform an election duty.” Two are misdemeanors and one is a Class 6 felony, the least serious felony classification in the state.
Brnovich and McIntyre, the local prosecutor, are Republicans.
In recent weeks, McIntyre and the two GOP supervisors in Cochise have been at odds. McIntyre has refused to provide legal representation to them in the certification dispute and in their separate, failed efforts to conduct a broad hand count audit of ballots, arguing that those actions violate state law.
This story has been updated with additional reaction.