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Arizona GOP county officials face charges after refusing to certify election on time

Cochise County Supervisors Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd face felony charges for refusing to meet Arizona's deadline for certifying 2022 election results.
Alberto Mariani/AP; Mark Levy/Pool Photo via AP
Cochise County Supervisors Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd face felony charges for refusing to meet Arizona's deadline for certifying 2022 election results.

Updated November 29, 2023 at 1:25 PM ET

Two Republican supervisors of Arizona's Cochise County are facing criminal charges after they risked more than 47,000 people's votes by refusing to meet the state's legal deadline for certifying the 2022 midterm elections.

The supervisors — Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd — are charged with felony offenses of conspiring to delay the counting of the county's votes and interfering with the ability of Arizona's top election official, the secretary of state, to complete the statewide counting, according to the Nov. 27 indictment released by the Arizona state attorney general's office on Wednesday.

Although the board of supervisors in the sparsely populated, southeastern Arizona county ultimately made its local results official following a court order, the delay raised alarms among many election watchers around the country, stoking fears that the move could inspire those who cast doubt on election results to try to disrupt certification and put more people's votes at risk in future elections.

The office of Arizona's secretary of state called for an investigation into Crosby and Judd after the board finally certified the results three days late, at a court-ordered meeting that Crosby skipped.

"Supervisors Crosby and Judd's actions not only demonstrate a complete disregard for the law but also jeopardize Arizona's democracy. Had a court not intervened, the failure of these two Supervisors to uphold their duty would have disenfranchised thousands of Cochise County voters. This blatant act of defying Arizona's election laws risks establishing a dangerous precedent that we must discourage," Kori Lorick, Arizona's state elections director, wrote in a letter to the Arizona attorney general and Cochise County attorney.

The office of Arizona's state Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, has now brought the charges.

"The repeated attempts to undermine our democracy are unacceptable," Mayes said in a statement. "I took an oath to uphold the rule of law, and my office will continue to enforce Arizona's elections laws and support our election officials as they carry out the duties and responsibilities of their offices."

Crosby and Judd did not immediately respond to NPR's requests for comment.

The judge who ordered the county board to make its results official had said the Republican-controlled panel "exceeded its lawful authority" in delaying the vote. The board found no legitimate problems with the county's 2022 election counts.

Edited by Benjamin Swasey

Research by Julia Wohl

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Hansi Lo Wang (he/him) is a national correspondent for NPR reporting on the people, power and money behind the U.S. census.