According to emails and documents uncovered by the Daily Caller News Foundation, Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs’ senior assistant and Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State threatened and attempted to intimidate the Mohave County Board of Supervisors with prosecution if election results were not certified by Monday.
Director of Elections for the State of Arizona, Kori Lorick, sent many letters and emails to board members, threatening them with criminal penalties if they failed to certify the election results on time. According to the emails, the letters also included threats of litigation against the members for “nonfeasance.”
The Secretary of State contacted our county and mentioned A.R.S. 16-1010 as legislation that might be utilized to punish the Board if they failed to certify the election, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith told the DCNF. The arrest could result in a Class 6 felony conviction, which carries up to two years of imprisonment for election officials who “fail to fulfill their responsibilities” as required by law.
Travis Linginfelter, the Board’s chair-elect supervisor, said Kori Lorick threatened legal action, including on a personal level. Previously, it was reported that the board members were threatened with prosecution by their attorney. However, the board members have now said that Lorick, who reports to Hobbs, made the threats.
The DCNF obtained an email from Lorick to the Board stating that her office would take any legal action they deemed necessary to ensure that Arizona’s voters’ ballots were counted. There is a possibility of prison time for supervisors who decide not to certify election results. Criminal prosecution would be possible under A.R.S. 16-1010. Governor-elect Hobbs has neither resigned from her position as secretary of state nor has she recused herself from monitoring and certifying elections.
On November 8, Hobbs was elected governor of Arizona to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, allegedly defeating Republican opponent Kari Lake, who has since filed a challenge to the election results.
Several attempts were made by Hobbs’ team, including Lorick’s threat of prosecution, to get Mohave County to certify its election results before November 28. Concerned that the Secretary of State’s office had not legally authorized voting machines used in their precincts, Republican members of the Board, as in other counties in the state, attempted to convene public hearings investigating the legality of the devices.
Lorick also warned the Board in a letter that their voters might be “disenfranchised” if they failed to certify by the deadline. The letter states that canvassing the election returns is the Board’s non-discretionary duty and that failing to do so will disenfranchise the county’s voters. She reiterated her warning to other GOP-led counties that their votes could be excluded from the final tally, affecting the outcome.
Mohave County was one of several counties that requested additional time to evaluate election integrity problems. Still, it is the only county where elected officials were reportedly threatened with incarceration. Cochise County, another Republican-controlled county in Arizona that has not declared its election results, is now the subject of a lawsuit filed by Hobbs’ office. Still, none of the county’s Republicans have reported any other intimidation tactics of criminal prosecution.
The Mohave County board finally certified the election results on Monday, before the deadline passed. However, the fear of individual legal repercussions for board members may have affected their willingness to delay certification, similar to Cochise. During the video broadcast of the Board’s canvas meeting, Chairman and Supervisor Ron Gould stated that the acts were “under duress.”
Legislators have the power to submit objections to election results throughout the legislative certification process in the majority of jurisdictions across the country. On January 6, 2021, Republican politicians and allies of then-President Donald Trump expressed concerns about repatriating Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania in the United States Congress.
Luzerne County’s Board of Elections in Pennsylvania had rejected to certify the ballot returns. The county experienced major paper shortages on Election Day and was involved in a court action exclusively covered by the DCNF.
In contrast to the Board in Mohave, however, members of Congress are legally protected from arrest for political conduct taken during a session under the “speech and debate clause” in the Constitution, as most state constitutions do. Smith informed the DCNF that no such provision existed for the Board under Arizona law.
The office of Mr. Hobbs did not reply to our request for comment.