Cochise County supervisors, Kari Lake and Mark Finchem had a no good, very bad day

·4 min read
A sign calling for the 2022 general election to not be certified is shown at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in Phoenix on Nov. 25, 2022.
A sign calling for the 2022 general election to not be certified is shown at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in Phoenix on Nov. 25, 2022.

In Cochise County, a judge on Thursday ordered the supervisors to certify the election and in under two hours, it was done.

In Maricopa County, a federal court judge awarded sanctions in a "frivolous" lawsuit brought earlier this year by Kari Lake and Mark Finchem.

“Imposing sanctions in this case is not to ignore the importance of putting in place procedures to ensure that our elections are secure and reliable,” U.S. District Court John J. Tuchi wrote, in a brutal 30-page opinion. “It is to make clear that the court will not condone litigants ignoring the steps that Arizona has already taken toward this end and furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process.”

All in all, a good day for people who believe in the rule of law and the value of facts.

Cochise County voters were not disenfranchised

A pair of Republican Cochise County supervisors for several weeks have been playing games with the election, apparently believing that they could somehow stop the state from making it official that Kari Lake and company has lost the election.

And to heck, apparently, with the 47,000 mostly Republican southeastern Arizona voters who would be disenfranchised if their leaders succeeded. To heck also with Republican Juan Ciscomani, who, without those Cochise County votes, could not claim the congressional seat he rightfully won.

Naturally, Lake applauded the GOP supervisors’ refusal to follow the law, complaining that Secretary of State/Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs was a “tyrant” for taking the county to court to ensure those mostly Republican votes were counted.

Double lawsuits:Cochise County sued twice after not certifying election results

“The illegitimate Governor-select is now threatening to destroy all those who dare question her authority,” Lake's campaign tweeted on Thursday morning. “This is the behavior of a tyrant. Not a leader. Arizona doesn’t have to accept this.”

Actually, we do. That is, if you believe in the rule of law.

After a short hearing on Thursday afternoon, Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey F. McGinley, who presided over the Cochise case, noted that state law requires the supervisors to certify the election. He gave them three hours – until 5 p.m. Thursday − to get it done.

“They will follow the court’s order and if they don’t then we will go from there,” he said.

Apparently preferring not to become a guest in their own jail, the supervisors certified the election 90 minutes later.

'False, misleading' allegations have consequences

Meanwhile in Phoenix, Judge Tuchi granted a request by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for sanctions in a lawsuit brought by Lake and Finchem.

You may recall that the pair -- with financial backing from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell -- filed suit in April asking a judge to bar the machine tabulation of votes in the 2022 election. In addition to a hand count of votes, Lake and Finchem also asked the judge to order Arizona’s counties to use paper ballots, which was strange given that we've never used anything but paper ballots.

But then, their lawsuit was more a campaign stunt than a serious attempt to remedy a real problem – yet another chance to make baseless claims about demonic tabulators and all manner of nefarious plots to control who is elected ... and who is not.

The judge clearly was not amused at having his court used as a campaign prop. In August, he threw out their lawsuit, noting that the pair provided no evidence of a problem and no proof that a hand count of ballots would be more accurate.

On Thursday, Tuchi followed up by granting Maricopa County’s request for sanctions. It’ll be up to Lake’s and Finchem’s attorneys to pay the county’s legal bill because they signed the papers “which forced Defendants and their counsel to spend time and resources defending this frivolous lawsuit rather than preparing for the elections over which Plaintiffs’ claims baselessly kicked up a cloud of dust.”

“In sum,” Tuchi wrote, “Plaintiffs lacked an adequate factual or legal basis to support the wide ranging constitutional claims they raised or the extraordinary relief they requested. Plaintiffs filled the gaps between their factual assertions, claimed injuries, and requested relief with false, misleading, and speculative allegations.”

Remember those last few words:  False, misleading, and speculative allegations.

I have a feeling we’re going to hear a lot of that in the coming weeks as the inevitable election challenges are filed, regaling some poor judge with all manner of hysterics about thousands of people turned away from the polls and scandalous black ballot eating bags and such

It’s heartening to know that judges still look for evidence.

Reach Roberts at Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona election deniers had a no good, very bad day