Arizona AG Mayes sues Cochise County for putting recorder in charge of elections

Mar 7, 2023, 12:56 PM

Kris Mayes (File Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...

Kris Mayes (File Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(File Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes filed a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to keep Cochise County from putting its Republican recorder in control of elections.

“While counties may appropriately enter into cooperative agreements with their recorders to manage elections, Cochise County’s agreement steps far over the legal line,” Mayes, a Democrat, said in a press release.

Mayes’ office warned the Cochise County Board of Supervisors that it would be illegal to give control of elections to David Stevens, the elected recorder. But that didn’t stop the three-member board’s two Republicans from voting last week to approve the move through 2024.

“The agreement is essentially an unqualified handover from the board to the recorder, not one that would allow both entities to work hand in hand to fulfill their statutory duties openly and transparently,” Mayes said.

In Arizona, elected recorders such as Stevens already play a part in elections. They register voters, distribute mail ballots and verify signatures on the ones sent back, while the nonpartisan election director handles the counting.

“A county officer may exercise only the legal authority of their office, not some other office that they do not hold,” Mayes argues in the lawsuit filed in Cochise County Superior Court.

“For example, a county sheriff cannot give his powers and duties related to law enforcement and jail supervision to the county assessor, just as the assessor may not give her powers and duties related to assessment to the sheriff.”

The lawsuit names all three supervisors — Republicans Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd and Democrat Ann English — and Stevens as defendants.

English voted against the measure, saying the legality needed to be studied.

Mayes’ suit asks the court to prohibit the agreement from being implemented and put the southeastern Arizona county on the hook for the state’s legal fees in the case.

Lisa Marra recently resigned as the Cochise County’s elections director after five years in the position. She had objected to unsuccessful efforts by Republicans on the board to conduct a full hand count of last year’s midterm vote amid conspiracies that ballot tabulators were illegal or faulty.

The rural county also delayed certifying the results of its November election until a court ruled that Crosby and Judd broke the law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by a state-mandated deadline.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Bright Angel Point...

Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Point Trail to close starting June 21

A popular trail at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon will become temporarily unavailable to visitors starting next week.

2 hours ago

Ryan So Scottsdale PD died Thursday night...

Police disclose more details regarding death of Scottsdale detective

Law enforcement authorities on Friday night disclosed more information about the death of Scottsdale Police detective Ryan So on Thursday.

4 hours ago

Close-up stock photo of an elderly woman's hands crossed in her lap. The number of metro Phoenix el...

Kevin Stone

Officials sound alarm about growing problem of elder abuse in metro Phoenix

Elder abuse is growing at an alarming rate in metro Phoenix, with the number cases rising by nearly 20% last year.

4 hours ago

Breakfast restaurant Over Easy will host a welcome weekend event for the launch of its new Peoria l...

Bailey Leasure

Over Easy set to host grand opening for its new Peoria location

Breakfast restaurant Over Easy will host a welcome weekend event for the launch of its new Peoria location. 

5 hours ago

Rendering of the Italian restaurant Il Brocca, which is planned to open in Scottsdale in 2025. (Bri...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Texas-based Italian restaurant eyes location in Scottsdale

Il Bracco, an upscale Italian restaurant chain based in Dallas, Texas, is looking to open its first location in Arizona in Scottsdale.

6 hours ago

A Silver Alert was issued for an 88-year-old man last seen Friday morning in Mesa who has dementia ...

Silver Alert: 88-year-old man from Mesa missing

A Silver Alert was issued for an 88-year-old man last seen Friday morning in Mesa after being reported missing by his son.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Arizona AG Mayes sues Cochise County for putting recorder in charge of elections