Farther and farther down the rabbit hole we tumble in the Arizona election that has no end.
It’s a strange and surreal place where up is down and black is white and the two Republican members of the Cochise County Board of Supervisors have lost their ever-living minds.
It seems Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby had this bright this idea that if they just declined to certify the election results in their ruby-red county that …
Well, I’m not sure what they thought would happen, but their decision to essentially disenfranchise their own voters – most of them Republicans − seems to be a protest of Maricopa County’s election. A protest that, if it stands, could actually land the supervisors in jail and another Democrat in Congress.
2 prosecutors say supervisors should be jailed
Without Cochise County’s vote, Republican Juan Ciscomani would lose what should be his southern Arizona congressional seat to Democrat Kirsten Engel. The supervisors’ shenanigans also could flip the state superintendent’s race from Republican Tom Horne to Democrat Kathy Hoffman and dash Republican Abe Hamadeh’s chances of overtaking Democrat Kris Mayes when the attorney general’s race is recounted next month.
Geniuses, those Cochise County officials.
Former Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat, and former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, a Republican, on Tuesday called for the pair to be criminally charged for refusing to follow state law and certify their county’s election.
“We believe deeply that the rule of law dictates that public officials be held accountable when they refuse to comply with their legal obligations – all the more so when those officials’ actions threaten to undo the proper administration and integrity of elections, disenfranchise thousands of voters, and potentially even alter the results of some races,” they wrote.
Naturally, MAGA land went nuts about that
Naturally, MAGA land blew up on social media, aghast all across America that anyone would dare suggest that the Cochise County supervisors should have to follow the law. It’s madness, they tell us.
“So in AZ, a Democrat county attorney told a Republican ELECTED member of the Board of Supervisors that if they did NOT vote the way they were TOLD TO VOTE, specifically to certify the CORRUPT election, that they would charge them with a Class 6 Felony,” tweeted one guy. “Something's not right.”
“That is known as extortion where I come from,” a Michigan “patriot” tweeted.
“Being told to vote a certain way or you’ll be charged with a felony?” a Louisiana woman added. “You honestly think that’s legal? Show me the specific law that makes voter intimidation legal.”
Leave it to Kari Lake to fan the flames of misinformation.
“Something's rotten in Denmark ... ,” her campaign replied.
It surely is, when you have a candidate so stuffed with sour grapes that she’s willing to burn down the state.
Arizona law is clear about certifying elections
For those still tethered to reality, ARS 16-642 says county supervisors “shall” certify the election within 20 days of the vote – meaning by Nov. 28.
It doesn’t say they can refuse to certify the vote to protest another county’s printer problems. It doesn’t say they can toss the ballots of their own 47,000 voters into the trash because they’re angry that Kari Lake and company lost the election.
It says shall.
Here’s another law. ARS 16-1010 says that “a person charged with performance of any duty under any law relating to elections who knowingly refuses to perform such duty … is guilty of a class 6 felony.”
Lake appears quite happy for those supervisors to become felons and spend some quality time behind bars.
“I wish somebody would say, ’You know what? Arrest me then. I don’t care,’ “ she said on Tuesday, on Steve Bannon’s podcast. “We need people with courage to say, ’class what felony? Go ahead, go for it, arrest me.’ Because this is a botched election.”
Private cash was outlawed, but who's counting?
Of course, Lake will have her chance to prove her claim that thousands of people were disenfranchised in Maricopa County – a place where turnout exceeded the state average. She can challenge the election results in court, but first there have to be official results to challenge.
That means after Dec. 5 or certainly no later than Dec. 8, the date by which the state must certify the results … without or without the Cochise vote. Secretary of State/Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs and others have sued Cochise County, asking a judge to order the supervisors to certify the election so that the county’s 47,000 votes will count.
A hearing is set for Thursday afternoon.
The Cochise supervisors, meanwhile, are looking to hire and attorney -- their own, having advised them that what they're doing is illegal -- and hoping someone will come forward to foot the bill. That would be yet another violation of law, given that Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature earlier this year barred the use of private funds for election purposes.
But, hey, what’s one more law trampled?
Let every GOP winner lose over sour grapes?
It goes without saying that a judge should order the Cochise County supervisors to certify the county’s election results.
Without that certification, Juan Ciscomani will lose what should be a Republican seat in Congress and Republican Tom Horne will not become Arizona’s next state superintendent. Without that, Republican Abe Hamadeh has no hope of winning a recount.
Meanwhile, Cochise County supervisors should be prosecuted – and recalled – for refusing to follow the law. Also, for demonstrating a level of crazy unparalleled anywhere in the state – and in Arizona, that is saying something.
As Republican Sen. T.J. Shope put it: “Imagine believing losing races after-the-fact was an actual “winning” strategy … Here we are as Republicans pinning our hopes on the Dem Sec of State to sue a Republican county to order them to do what Arizona Statute requires them to do. We live in an upside down world … ”
Upside down and curiouser and curiouser, with each passing day. Imagine a candidate for governor, urging county officials to flush away the elections of her fellow Republicans because she cannot accept the fact that she lost.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Cochise County tumbles down the Arizona election rabbit hole