Hobbs v. Crosby – Cochise County Certification (AZ)
On Nov. 28, 2022, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs filed a special action complaint against the Cochise County Board of Supervisors in Cochise County Superior Court for failing to canvass the 2022 midterm election results as required by law. States United and Coppersmith Brockelman PLC served as pro-bono co-counsel to Secretary Hobbs.
The Cochise County board attributed the delay to entirely unfounded concerns about the certification of voting equipment. Hobbs asked the court to compel the board to meet and canvass the results by Dec. 1. In the complaint, she pointed out that:
- The county’s elections equipment had been properly certified and the board’s reasons for delay were baseless;
- Arizona law mandates that county boards of supervisors canvass election results by the fourth Monday following the election, in this case Nov. 28;
- The Cochise board repeatedly delayed its canvass until the 11th hour and missed the deadline, violating Arizona law; and
- The only legal reason to delay the county canvass would be if ballot returns were not yet final, which was not the case here.
During a hearing on Dec. 1, Judge Casey McGinley ordered the board to canvass the results that same day: “You will meet today. You will canvass the election no later than 5 o’clock.” The board called an emergency meeting following the order, and two supervisors—Ann English and Peggy Judd—voted to canvass the results in a 2-0 vote. Supervisor Tom Crosby did not attend the meeting. The secretary was then able to canvass the state-wide results by the mandatory deadline.
On Dec. 2, Hobbs sent a letter to the state attorney general asking him to “investigate and take appropriate enforcement action” against two supervisors—Crosby and Judd—for refusing to canvass the results by the deadline mandated by law. “Only after a court ordered the Board of Supervisors to canvass this election, did Supervisor Judd comply, and even then, Supervisor Crosby continued to defy his statutory responsibility as well as the court order,” Hobbs’s letter said.