Former Arizona AG says not certifying an election is a criminal violation

Nov 30, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 6:21 pm
(Photo by Ryan Kelly/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Ryan Kelly/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ryan Kelly/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard on Tuesday said there are criminal consequences for board supervisors who neglect to certify an election.

He explained that that’s why a letter from him, along with former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, was sent to Attorney General Mark Brnovich requesting an investigation into two Cochise County board supervisors and their refusal to canvass the Nov. 8 election.

“The reason why we sent it was we wanted to make it very clear that there are more than just civil consequences,” Goddard told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show on Tuesday.

“In other words, there are criminal violations when an elected official who’s sworn to support the laws at the constitution of the state of Arizona decides to ignore those laws.”

He said that the ones who voted against certifying the elections — GOP members Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd — could be charged with a failure to do their duty.

“It is not something where you just say, ‘Oh, I’ll wait until the court to order me to do it then I’ll do it.’ No, as you just pointed out, they’ve already broken the law, now it’s in the court of the county attorney and the attorney general as to whether they choose to prosecute,” Goddard said.

He added: “I’m hoping that cooler heads will prevail and the item will get fixed because the law is absolutely crystal clear here. You don’t get to- you don’t get to pick what actions you want to take in a case like this. You are mandated to do exactly these steps.”

Board supervisors had until Nov. 28 to certify the election, but Cochise was the only county in the state to refuse to do so.

“Their job as a county official is to certify the election as it’s given to them by their recorder and send it into the secretary of state. They are the middle person. They are not the arbiter of what happened, uh, they didn’t supervise the election,” Goddard said.

“When they took the oath and they agreed to do this job, this is one of the things they agreed to do and they’re now trying to chuck it — to not do what they were told they had to do…their own county attorney told them that this was absolutely– there was no discretion and that they would face criminal consequences.”

But essentially disenfranchising voters won’t happen, Goddard noted.

“If necessary, we’ll send the DPS down there and take the ballot box away from them. I’m sure the judge will make that order if, in fact, they try to continue this nonsense,” he said.

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Former Arizona AG says not certifying an election is a criminal violation