Two Republicans on a county board in recent swing state Arizona have been criminally charged by the Democrat currently serving as state attorney general over their initial refusals following the 2022 midterm elections to certify the local results. The debacle in Cochise County, Arizona, came amid a continuing national presentation of conspiracy theories about supposed threats from election meddling.
Attorney General Kris Mayes announced the charges against Cochise County supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby, both of whom were charged with felony offenses of Interference with an Election Officer and Conspiracy. Finally rejecting conspiracy theories, the local government body on which Judd and Crosby serve finally voted to certify their county’s 2022 results only after court order following multiple lawsuits challenging their conspiracy theories-driven delay. The responsibilities held by the county supervisors were evidently consistently held to be procedural in nature rather than a juncture where activist–types can exert their personal wills.
The discrepancy is, of course, reminiscent of the disputes around what then-Vice President Mike Pence would do when he presided over the certification of the 2020 presidential election results in early 2021. The push from Trump’s circles was for Pence to attempt to evoke some sort of procedural power setting up a rebuff of the electoral college majority that Biden secured, but the legal precedent was that the vice president’s role was procedural in nature. Later attempts in Congress to clarify this standing in law didn’t necessarily mean the earlier standards for vice presidential action just didn’t exist, despite Trump’s insinuations.
“The repeated attempts to undermine our democracy are unacceptable,” Mayes said in prepared remarks. “I took an oath to uphold the rule of law, and my office will continue to enforce Arizona’s elections laws and support our election officials as they carry out the duties and responsibilities of their offices.” The voting rights organization Democracy Docket previously reported that Judd expressed confidence in the board’s GOP majority’s refusal to certify even as the legal challenges reached essentially their apex.
“During the meeting, Peggy Judd, one of the two Republican supervisors who refused to certify, said she thought “everyone has done a great job” and is “not ashamed” of voting against certification,” they reported in December 2022.