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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Rachel Leingang

Arizona voting officials charged for refusing to certify 2022 election results

Cochise County district 1 supervisor Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd at the Regular Board of Supervisors meeting in Bisbee, Arizona, on 28 November 2023.
Cochise County district 1 supervisor Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd at the Regular Board of Supervisors meeting in Bisbee, Arizona, on 28 November 2023. Photograph: Cassidy Araiza/The Guardian

Two elected officials in a rural Arizona county who stalled certifying election results have been charged by Arizona’s attorney general with conspiracy and interfering with an election officer.

Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd, Republican county supervisors in Cochise county, face two felony counts for their initial refusal to certify the county’s election results in 2022. A grand jury convened earlier this month to discuss the potential charges, which were filed on Wednesday.

Crosby and Judd had to be ordered by a court to certify the November 2022 election results, passing the statewide deadline for counties to canvass results. Even after the court order, Crosby did not show up to vote on the canvass.

The indictment alleges Crosby and Judd conspired to delay Cochise county’s vote canvass and knowingly interfered with the secretary of state’s ability to complete a statewide vote canvass on time.

The two supervisors have repeatedly pushed false election claims and sought a hand count of all ballots, later deemed illegal.

Earlier this year Democratic attorney general of Arizona, Kris Mayes, vowed to prosecute over election interference issues in the swing state, which has seen all manner of election denialism since the 2020 election.

“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.”

During the past year, local meetings have been mired in election arguments, with one contingent showing up to call for hand counts and limits to voting access and another group speaking out to defend how elections are run. Some in the latter group have long wanted to see Crosby and Judd charged and held accountable for their efforts to derail the vote count, though they’ve also worried charges could galvanize election deniers more.

Legal costs for the county mounted to the hundreds of thousands, not including the costs the supervisors have likely incurred to defend themselves outside county funds.

Crosby has been crowdfunding for his legal defense on a rightwing platform after he received a subpoena for the grand jury, calling himself “an elections integrity proponent since before it became popular” and saying that a legal case against him “will intimidate other AZ county supervisors into falling in line with the globalist plans of compromised elections, and forced use of voting machines”.

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