Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sued a Republican-controlled county Monday after it refused to certify its election results by the state’s legal deadline.
The lawsuit, filed in Arizona Superior Court, seeks to force the Cochise County Board of Supervisors to certify the county’s results in the Nov. 8 election. The county certification deadline is Monday.
Officials in Cochise, one of the state’s 15 counties, voted earlier in the day against certifying the election results. The county previously postponed certification at a Nov. 18 meeting.
Under state law, Arizona is supposed to certify its results by December 8, with or without certification from all counties.
“In the absence of this Court’s intervention, the Clerk will have no choice but to complete the state canvass by December 8 without including Cochise County’s votes,” the lawsuit says. “Therefore, the Board’s inaction not only violates the plain language of the statute, but also undermines a basic principle of free and fair elections in this state: ensuring that the voice of all Arizonans is heard.”
The board voted 2-1 on Monday to further delay its certification until Friday.
The lone Democrat on the board, Ann English, urged her fellow Republicans to take action.
“There is no reason for us to delay,” English told Vice President Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby.
“We have been presented with materials that were requested at the last meeting of both parties, and I feel that both have the necessary information to make this decision,” he added.
NBC News has asked Judd and Crosby for comment.
In a statement Monday, a spokesman for Hobbs warned that he would use “all available legal resources” to force counties to comply with state law, which requires county election results to be certified by November 28.
The spokeswoman, Sophia Solis, added that if the court does not intervene, Hobbs “will have no choice” but to complete the state canvass by Dec. 8 without votes from Cochise County.
Hobbs will be the state’s next governor after she defeated Trump-backed Kari Lake, a prominent election denier who has refused to concede the race. Cochise County voters heavily favored Lake over Hobbs in the November election.
Cochise County is the only county in the state that refused to certify its results.
The state’s most populous county, Maricopa, the jurisdiction that was at the center of a partisan review of the 2020 election results, certified the November results amid backlash at a public meeting Monday.
“This was not a perfect choice, but it was a sure one. The votes have been accurately counted,” Bill Gates, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said before the vote to certify the election.