Prescott, AZ November 22, 2023 – The thuggish abuse of office and overreach of authority by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is the substance of tyranny. Never before, as far as we can tell, has an Executive Branch officer (which is what the Attorney General is) threatened the elected representatives of the People with felony prosecution for doing their job. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors is a legislative body because it passes ordinances (laws) for civil conduct. The AG’s letter threatening to pursue criminal charges against elected officials who are engaged in due diligence and in pursuit of compliance with a lawfully passed and Constitutionally based directive is, by any measure, an abuse of authority.
In a letter to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, Mayes said if the board moves forward with a hand count, the state will “promptly sue and obtain a court order,” and added the court may hold board members who voted in favor liable for misconduct in the form of “various felony and misdemeanor criminal penalties,” and “subject them to personal liability for any public funds used for this illegal purpose.” This threat of personal liability by the AG is an illegal act. It is a criminal offense to threaten an elected body under color of authority. And, there is a claim for violation of the civil rights of the Supervisors and the People they represent under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
“What is the Democrat Attorney General and Secretary of State so terrified of? Could it be that the machines do not accurately count votes? We will never know without a full hand count, compared side-by-side to the machine count. This would have been the ideal opportunity for government to restore confidence in the elections process, but instead we have witnessed an epic failure,” Mr. Mark Finchem, CEO of the Election Fairness Institute.
It is a gross misrepresentation for the AG and Deputy County Attorney Ryan Esplin to assert that the BoS was acting illegally. Esplin is correct on one thing: nothing in the law authorized the county to do a hand count. At the same time, nothing in the law has forbidden a hand count. Nothing. While Esplin said, “The legislature knows very well that they can put in a hand count, and they didn’t put it in there,” the Legislature also respects local control. Esplin’s assertion is disingenuous.
Mr. Finchem explains, “Moreover, Esplin and Mays artfully and specifically disregarded that specific action which they claim the Legislature did not “put in.” The Legislature did indeed give clear and concise direction to counties during the 2023 Regular Session, in the form of Senate Concurrent Resolution 1037, citing Article I, Sec. 4, Clause 1 of the Constitution of the United States, which requires that electronic election tabulation equipment must meet or exceed Department of Defense cyber security standards, as they are considered by the federal government to be “critical infrastructure.”
The Boards of Supervisors are directly responsible for elections, not the state. That means local control matters, and if the Boards of Supervisors are to be confident in their certification of elections, they must have the latitude to conduct their due diligence. That means when there is evidence of machine error, like that which was witnessed recently in Pinal County on ES&S machines with three different results on three different attempts, a complete hand count for comparison is warranted.
One additional concern, which the AG left out, is that it is a felony in Arizona to certify by signing onto a document based in fraud. Both elected and appointed officials who sign an official document that they knew or should have known was rooted in fraud are criminally liable for the deception. The threatening letter from AG Mays must be immediately withdrawn.