Arizona Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has delivered an ultimatum to Mohave County Board of Supervisors this week, threatening severe criminal referrals and legal action if the county does not certify her as the next Governor of Arizona.
Mohave County held off on certifying the results of the 2022 election until the November 28 deadline after a host of Election Day issues in Maricopa County, including reportedly failing tabulation machines and printers throughout nearly half of the county’s voting centers.
Two members of the Mohave County board stated that they feel as if they are voting to certify the election results “under duress” after Hobbs’ office threatened that they would “be arrested and charged with a felony” if they didn’t adhere to her demands, board chairman Ron Gould said.
“We believe that Mohave County voters were disenfranchised by the problems that they had in Maricopa County,” Gould said in a Wednesday interview on Real America’s Voice.
“Their mistakes are bigger than our entire county vote, and I think it’s disenfranchised the rural voters across the state, not to mention that it disenfranchises Maricopa County voters and Republican voters, in particular, who are more likely to cast their ballot at the poll” on Election Day, Gould added.
“So any problems at the poll affect Republicans more than they would affect Democrats.”
Gould explained that if Mohave County had declined to certify the election results, lawsuits would be unable to go forward and the county’s votes would not have been included in the state’s total — effectively ceding two Republican statewide seats to Democrats.
Kori Lorick, who serves under Hobb’s in the Secretary of State’s office as the State Elections Director, penned a letter to the Mohave County Board claiming that the certification of the election is “not discretionary” and more of a theatrical move.
“Because the Board has no authority to change or reject the results, the canvass is a purely ministerial act,” Lorick wrote.
In a separate email to the county Board, Lorick threatened to prosecute them if they did not abide by their “non-discretionary statutory duty to canvass the 2022 General Election results by today.”
“The only basis for delaying the county canvass is pursuant to A.R.S. 16-642(C) if returns from a polling place are missing, and that is indisputably not the case here,” she wrote. “If Mohave County does not perform their ministerial duty to canvass your election results today, we will have no other choice but to pursue legal action and seek fees and sanctions against the Board.
“Our office will take all legal action necessary to ensure that Arizona’s voters have their votes counted, including referring the individual supervisors who vote not to certify for criminal enforcement under A.R.S. 16-1010.”
According to the statute cited by the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, any election worker “who knowingly refuses to perform” their election duties “is guilty of a class 6 felony unless a different punishment for such act or omission is prescribed by law.”
Hobbs’ Republican gubernatorial opponent, Trump-endorsed former television news anchor Kari Lake, has consistently pointed out that Hobbs’ management of elections in Arizona could be a potential conflict of interest, as she can utilize the powers of her office to her political advantage.
Katie Says 'Put Katie into power or go to jail?' https://t.co/pfXOquQtyA
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) December 1, 2022
“Katie Says ‘Put Katie into power or go to jail?’,” Lake tweeted in response to Hobbs’ office’s treatment of the Mohave County board.
Republicans in Arizona’s state legislature also have decried Hobbs’ move as an abuse of power that emphasizes a conflict of interest.
“Katie Hobbs’ threats directed at the Mohave County Supervisors is a gross abuse of power and highlight the dangerous conflict of interest that exists in allowing her to manage her own election. Hobbs has made it clear that she is willing to exploit every lever of power for her own personal gain — something that should deeply concern Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike,” Arizona state Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) told Just The News.
.@charliekirk11: "Maricopa County yesterday then unanimously certified this election despite anywhere between, we do not know, 20,000 to 100,000 people that were disenfranchised. MINIMUM."
There's no question that voter suppression affected the outcome of this election. pic.twitter.com/sghWAVjsDK
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) November 29, 2022
“Rural counties are rightly concerned that the singular point of systemic failure in this election — Maricopa County — contains more than 62% of the state’s total electorate. This disproportionate control over the outcome of elections strips rural county voters of their voice when electing statewide public officials,” Hoffman added.
This news and commentary by Andrew White originally appeared on Real Freedom Talk.