Cochise County delays move towards new elections rules amid public outcry

Cochise County is back in the national spotlight for trying to restructure its elections department.
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 7:58 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The Cochise County Board of Supervisors have put off an election decision that would give its county recorder more control over elections.

Two supervisors, Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd, were in favor of putting more election responsibility into the hands of David Stevens.

That is something no other county in Arizona does.

The issue came about after longtime Cochise Elections Director Lisa Marra resigned citing harassment and threats made to her family.

Marra refused to go along with the supervisors, who broke state law by not certifying the 2022 =election as required by state statute. They were eventually forced to do it by a litigation threat from then Secretary of State at the time, now Governor, Katie Hobbs.

Marra also refused to perform a hand recount, an action that was also rejected by the courts.

“This is a power grab, pure and simple,” said Bisbee resident Stephanie Stevenson.

Stevenson was one of 35 county residents who showed up to oppose the change. Six people showed up to support it, not all of who were from Cochise County.

“You have also driven our superb elections director out of office,” said Sierra Vista resident Jeff Sturgis. “You have forced her to resign through harassment and threats to herself and her family because she refused to do your illegal bidding.”

Stevens has been working hand in hand with failed Secretary of State candidate and election denier Mark Finchem.

Even though a decision was not finalized Tuesday, it will likely be in the near future.

“This is not a done deal today,” said Board Chair Ann English, the lone Democrat on the board. “It’s simply a matter of us trying to put in the document to satisfy the two board members who wish to move in this direction and them up to another meeting.”

If approved, Cochise County would be the only county in the state that does not separate the recorder’s office from the elections office.

The two board members who are trying to change the election process, Judd and Crosby, have made it clear it is their intent to move it forward.