Arizona Certifies Midterm Results After G.O.P. Resistance
Arizona’s top officials signed papers to certify the results of the state’s midterm election on Monday, completing a normally routine task that had become troubled in a state where Republican activists and candidates have claimed without evidence that the election results were irredeemably marred by widespread problems.
Two heavily Republican counties in Arizona initially delayed certifying their results but ultimately did so. In one case, in Cochise County, certification came only under order from a judge.
Finally, at an event on Monday that was closed to the public but broadcast live, the secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who won this year’s race for governor, signed documents to certify the results in all 15 counties.
Also signing the certifications were Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, both Republicans, along with Robert Brutinel, the chief justice of the State Supreme Court.
In a speech before the signing of the documents, Ms. Hobbs addressed some of the conspiracy theories that had been spreading and said that the election had been properly conducted.
“Powerful voices spread misinformation that threatened to disenfranchise voters,” she said. “Democracy prevailed, but it’s not out of the woods.”
Mr. Ducey, the departing governor, explained that state law required the certification as part of the democratic process.
“I swore an oath to uphold the law,” he said.
Ms. Hobbs’s opponent for governor, Kari Lake, who lost by more than 17,000 votes, ran a campaign heavily focused on false conspiratorial claims of stolen elections. She and her allies have vowed to continue fighting the outcome, sowing doubts about the results with public statements and social media posts.
The efforts have made Arizona the center of the national election-denial movement, attracting activists who have gained influence spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election as they speak at protests and local government hearings.
Ms. Lake and the Republican nominee for attorney general, Abraham Hamadeh, have suggested that after the certification, they may file lawsuits challenging the election results. Mr. Hamadeh is trailing Kris Mayes, a Democrat, by about 500 votes in a race that has not yet been called and is headed to a recount.
Mr. Hamadeh previously filed a lawsuit asking a judge to declare him the winner, which was dismissed by the court as “premature” since under state law, a lawsuit challenging election results needs to be filed after the certification of an election, not before it. (Such a challenge must be filed within five days of certification.)
The Republican candidates and their allies, including right-wing activists and media figures like Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald J. Trump, have claimed for weeks without evidence that voters in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and is Arizona’s largest county, were “disenfranchised.”
They have pointed to technical problems on Election Day that led to long lines at some polling places. But in fact there has been no sign of widespread voter disenfranchisement, because voters who encountered problems were able to cast ballots via backup systems or at other polling locations.
A New York Times review of dozens of accounts from voters, poll workers and observers that were posted by Ms. Lake and her allies found that many voters acknowledged that, while inconvenienced, they had ultimately been able to cast their ballots.