Cochise County Supervisors Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd knowingly violated state law and should be investigated for potential criminal and civil offenses for delaying the canvass of the general election results, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs' office stated in a referral to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
The referral comes a day after the supervisors were forced by a court order to certify election results ― although the letter specifically notes that Crosby failed to attend the court-ordered canvass.
The letter lays out evidence, culled from public meetings and public statements, to buttress the claim that the law was violated. It included Judd's statement earlier this week to the New York Times that the county's objections to how tabulation machines were certified was "the only thing we have to stand on" to not certify the Nov. 8 returns.
"Supervisors Crosby and Judd knew they had a statutory requirement to certify the election results by Nov. 28, but instead chose to act in violation of the law, putting false election narratives ahead of Cochise County voters," the letter, signed by state Elections Director Kori Lorick, states.
The referral notes that failure by elected officials to carry out their prescribed duties is subject to a Class 6 felony. That felony can carry a penalty of up to 5 3/4 years in prison, first-time offenders are usually sentenced to the presumptive term of 1 1/2 years, although the law allows it to be bumped down to a misdemeanor.
The referral also cites the state's Election Procedures Manual, which states that a county supervisor who refuses to carry out duties without just cause is subject to a Class 2 misdemeanor and a $500 fine payable to the county.
Lorick's letter notes that the supervisors were compelled by state law to canvass election results by Monday's deadline, noting it is a "non-discretionary duty." That legal obligation also was cited Thursday by Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley, who granted requests from Hobbs as well as the Arizona Alliance of Retired Americans to order the supervisors to certify.
Two of the supervisors, board Chairwoman Ann English and Judd, voted to do just that. Crosby did not attend, saying in an email that he did so on the advice of the board's newly hired attorney. Crosby did not answer a follow-up question asking why that advice was given and if it related to his disagreement with the court order.
Bronvich's office said Friday afternoon that it had received the referral letter but noted it had arrived after the media apparently had received it. Katie Connor, spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office, declined further comment.
Neither Judd nor Crosby immediately replied to calls for comment.
The referral follows a request for a criminal probe of the two supervisors from former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley. The two former prosecutors sent the request to Brnovich's office on Tuesday.
"This craziness has to stop," Romley said in an interview.
Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 2 Cochise County supervisors are the subject of a criminal referral