PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – After Secretary of State Katie Hobbs filed a lawsuit against the Cochise County board of directors, the board responded with an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon to decide who would represent her in the lawsuit. The board voted unanimously to hire Bryan Blehm, the same attorney who represented Cyber Ninjas, the group that ran Maricopa County’s controversial scrutiny in the 2020 election. Blehm will represent the board in the lawsuit filed by Hobbs after they refused to confirm the results of the 2022 general election.
However, the question arises as to how the board pays for legal representation. The board cannot legally accept outside donations to pay for the lawsuit or for any other purpose. Officials did not say how they would pay for Blehm. However, it is unclear if he would take the case as he had not answered the phone when the meeting started.
Also on Tuesday, former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and former Maricopa County attorney Rick Romley called for a criminal investigation by the Cochise County Board of Supervisors. In the letter to current Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Cochise County Prosecutor Brian McIntyre, the two say the supervisors broke at least three laws by not certifying the election. Goddard and Romley asked Brnovich and McIntyre to hold the officials accountable, saying their actions “threaten to undo the proper administration and integrity of the election, disenfranchise thousands of voters and potentially even alter the outcomes of some races.” They added that there was no legal basis for the board to deny certification.
Arizona state law required counties to confirm results within 20 days of the election. Cochise County voters were furious with their elected officials for violating that law and failing to meet Monday’s deadline. Voters shouted at elected officials during what some called a “clown show” during the board’s regular Tuesday morning meeting. “This attack on democracy will not last,” said one person. “Help, I’m in Cochise County where the board of directors got lost in conspiracy theory land and took their votes,” said another person. “And I’ve never seen our district on the national news. I just heard the international news as a clown show. I’m ashamed.” Some voters said they wanted the two officials who refused to confirm the election to resign.
The comments captured anger directed at pressure from prominent Republican politicians on GOP board members. The board voted 2-1 on Monday to postpone the election until at least Friday. Hobbs previously said the Secretary of State’s office will have no choice but to complete the selection no later than December 8, which would move the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the US House of Representatives’ seat in Congressional District 6 from a Republican to a Democrat.
Meanwhile, Republican Kari Lake refuses to give up in the run for governor. Lake has claimed tens of thousands of voters were disenfranchised but has not presented any evidence. However, if the Republican-led Cochise County board of directors refuses to confirm the election by next week, the 47,000 votes will not count towards the state election.
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