Amicus Briefs February 1, 2023

AZ AARP v. Crosby – Hand Counts (AZ)

Issue Areas

On Nov. 3, 2022, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs submitted an amicus brief in support of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans (AZ AARP) in the case AZ AARP v. Crosby in Cochise County Superior Court. States United served as pro bono co-counsel on the brief, alongside Coppersmith Brockelman PLC.

In the case, plaintiff AZ AARP asked the court to prohibit the Cochise County Board of Supervisors from conducting a full hand count of every ballot cast in the state. The plaintiff argued that such a hand count would be in violation of Arizona law. Hobbs said the board’s vote to expand the hand count was motivated by baseless conspiracy theories and raised serious concerns regarding ballot chain of custody. In the brief, she argued that: 

  • Counties have the authority to conduct only a limited post-election hand count of ballots under Arizona law; 
  • Any hand count of all ballots—by untrained staff and untested methods—would be inaccurate, endanger the security of cast ballots, and threaten the county’s timely certification of the election, as required by law; and 
  • A full hand count based on unfounded conspiracy theories would set a dangerous precedent and inject chaos into the administration of the election. 

At the time of the filing of the amicus brief, the case was set for a Nov. 4 evidentiary hearing in the Cochise County Superior Court. 

Latest Update

The court held an evidentiary hearing on Nov. 4. On Nov. 7, Judge Casey F. McGinley ruled that Cochise County may not conduct a full hand count of every ballot and must instead conduct only a limited hand count, as required by Arizona law. 

On November 9, the Board of Supervisors and Recorder David Stevens appealed the ruling to the Arizona Court of Appeals, where it remains pending.

Related Documents