Cochise County finally certifies election but legal troubles may not be over

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 7:00 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Cochise County has ended its stalemate with the state over the 2022 election certification by voting 2-0 to the canvass the election as required by state law. Supervisor Tom Crosby failed to show up for the vote.

The vote on the canvass was ordered by a Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley.

Still, a Tucson Attorney has filed a notice that he intends to file suit against Cochise County and the Board of Supervisors on behalf of a Sierra Vista voter, Paul Siversten, who charges he was disenfranchised.

Even though the board has now certified the election, Gattone says the case will continue to move forward.

“Obviously you can’t really put a price on people’s constitutional right to vote,” Gattone said “We think its priceless.”

Maybe not priceless but worth maybe $25,000.

That’s the amount that Siversten is seeking for the “severe emotional anguish” he suffered by having his vote disenfranchised.

But it goes deeper than that. Other voters in Cochise County have contacted Gattone and it may blossom into a class action suit against the county since there were 47,000 votes hanging in limbo.

“If each of the 47,000 voters would get $25,000, that would be close to a billion dollars,” Gattone said. “So that would obviously have a great deterrent effect for attempting to disenfranchise voters in the future.”

It’s not likely the voters would get a check in the mail, but it could serve as a wakeup call to politicians statewide.

“We’re hoping that our type of litigation would have a deterrent effect for county supervisors of any level of government in Arizona who feel they have any sort of right to violate state law and disenfranchise voters,” he said.

Right now, the intent to sue is against the county but he can amend the suit to also include the supervisors who ignored the process and state law.

“This was a stunt in order to get publicity and to make a political point rather than a rational decision that benefits the citizens and voters in Cochise County,” he said.