PHOENIX — Two officials from a rural Arizona county pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony charges for delaying the certification of their county’s 2022 midterm election results.
Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby had balked for weeks about certifying the results, in a process known as canvassing. They didn’t cite problems with election results, but said they weren’t satisfied that the machines used to tabulate ballots were properly certified for use in elections, though state and federal election officials said they were.
During brief arraignment hearings on Thursday, Judd and Crosby pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and interference with an election officer and were informed of future court dates, including a May 16 trial.
“We feel like there is no basis for these charges,” Kurt Altman, an attorney for Judd, said outside of court. “She was charged for doing her job.”
Crosby and Tim Grimm, a lawyer representing the supervisor, declined to comment after the hearing. The county finally certified its results after a judge ruled the Republican supervisors broke the law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by a deadline. Crosby skipped the meeting, leaving Judd and Supervisor Ann English, the board’s lone Democrat, to finally approve the canvass, allowing the statewide certification to go forward as scheduled.
Then-Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, now Arizona’s governor, had warned she might have to certify statewide results without numbers from Cochise County if they weren’t received in time, an outcome that would have tipped the balance of several close races.
Days before the 2022 general election, the Republican supervisors abandoned plans to hand count all ballots, which a court said would be illegal. They demanded the secretary of state prove vote-counting machines were legally certified before they would approve the election results. Judd and Crosby aren’t charged with conduct related to plans for hand counting ballots.