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Arizona secretary of state sues GOP-controlled county over refusal to certify election results

Cochise County has repeatedly refused to certify its results from the Nov. 8 election. The deadline for certification is Nov. 28.
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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sued a Republican-controlled county Monday after it refused to certify its election results by the state's statutory deadline.

The lawsuit, filed in Arizona Superior Court, aims to compel the Cochise County Board of Supervisors to certify the county's results from the Nov. 8 election. The deadline for county certification is Monday.

Officials in Cochise, one of 15 counties in the state, voted earlier in the day against certifying its election results. The county previously postponed certification at a Nov. 18 meeting.

Under state law, Arizona is supposed to certify its results by Dec. 8 — with or without certification from all of the counties.

“Absent this Court’s intervention, the Secretary will have no choice but to complete the statewide canvass by December 8 without Cochise County’s votes included," the lawsuit states. "Thus, the Board’s inaction not only violates the plain language of the statute, but also undermines a basic tenet of free and fair elections in this state: ensuring that every Arizonan’s voice is heard.”

The board voted 2-1 Monday to further delay its certification until Friday.

The lone Democrat on the board, Ann English, urged her GOP colleagues to take action.

"There is no reason for us to delay," English told Vice Chair Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby.

"We have been presented materials that was asked for at the last meeting from both sides, and I feel that you both have the information necessary in order to make this decision," she added.

NBC News has asked Judd and Crosby for comment.

In a statement earlier Monday, a spokesperson for Hobbs warned that she would use "all available legal remedies" to compel counties to comply with state law, which requires that county election results be certified by Nov. 28.

The spokesperson, Sophia Solis, added that if the court failed to intervene, Hobbs "will have no choice" but to complete the statewide canvass by Dec. 8 without Cochise County’s votes.

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. Voters in Cochise County largely 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 over its 2020 election results, certified November's results amid backlash at a public meeting Monday.

“This was not a perfect election, but it was safe and secure. The votes have been counted accurately,” Bill Gates, the GOP chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said before the vote to certify the election.