CONFIRMED: Katie Hobbs’ Office Threatened County Board With Arrest, Felony Indictment If They Didn’t Certify Results
Lorick’s threat of prosecution was one of several efforts made by Hobbs’ team to force Mohave County to certify its election results before the Nov. 28 state deadline. Republican members of the board, like in other counties in the state, had sought to hold public hearings regarding the validity of voting machines used in their precincts, over concerns that they were not properly approved by the Secretary of State’s office.
Lorick also sent a letter to the board warning that their voters could be “disenfranchised” if they did not certify by the deadline. The letter, obtained exclusively by the DCNF from Lingenfelter, states that the board “has a non-discretionary duty to canvass the returns of the election,” and that a failure to do so “will only serve to disenfranchise that county’s voters,” mirroring her warnings to other GOP-led counties that their votes “may be excluded” from the final tallies, thereby affecting results.
Mohave County was one of several counties seeking more time to review election integrity issues, though it is the only county whose elected representatives are known to have been threatened with arrest. Cochise County, another GOP-led county in the state that has not certified its results, is currently the subject of a lawsuit by Hobbs’ office, though none of their members have reported criminal prosecution.
The Mohave County board eventually certified the results of the election on Monday, Nov. 28, before the deadline expired, though the threat of individual legal consequences for members may have altered their willingness to delay certification, like Cochise. During the video broadcast of the canvas meeting of the board, Supervisor and Chair Ron Gould mentioned that the actions were “under duress.”
The legislative certification of election results is a routine process that occurs in jurisdictions across the country, with legislators mostly having the ability to raise objections to results during the certification process. The most notable such challenge occurred in the U.S. Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, when Republican lawmakers and supporters of then-President Donald Trump raised objections to returns of Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, Luzerne County’s Board of Elections has declined to certify the returns of ballots. The county faced widespread paper shortage issues on Election Day and was the subject of a court case, which was covered exclusively by the DCNF.
Unlike Mohave’s board, however, members of Congress are constitutionally protected from arrest for political actions made in session under the “speech and debate clause” of the Constitution, which has analogous provisions in most state constitutions for their legislators. Smith told the DCNF that no such provision exists under Arizona law for the board.
Hobbs’ office did not respond to a request for comment.
Post written by Arjun Singh. Republished with permission from DCNF.