The statewide certification, known as a canvass, was signed by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, a Ducey appointee, on Dec. 5.
When the same group certified the 2020 election, Ducey silenced a call from then-President Donald Trump, who was at the time in a frenetic push to persuade Republican allies to go along with his attempts to overturn the election he lost.
"This is a responsibility I do not take lightly," Ducey said. "It’s one that recognizes the votes cast by the citizens of our great state. Pursuant to state law on the fourth Monday following the general election, the current secretary of state in the presence of the governor, and the attorney general must canvass the election. That's the law."
"Arizona had a successful election, but too often throughout the process, powerful voices proliferated misinformation that threatened to disenfranchise voters … democracy prevailed, but it's not out of the woods," said Secretary of State and Governor-elect Katie Hobbs.
"Typically, the state canvas marks an official end to the election. However, a law that went into effect this year that changed the margin for a recount to occur. This means that we will have three contests that will trigger the automatic recount provision: attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and the state representative in District 13. So immediately following this canvass, my office will go to court to request a recount order. That's because under Arizona law, only a judge can order a recount at the request of the officer in charge of elections, which for these contests, is the secretary of state's office," said Hobbs. She added, "All of this is to say that the work of election officials continues. The counties will be conducting recounts well into December, working through the holiday season to ensure that we meet our statutory duties."
The statewide certification comes after controversy over election results.
The work is not over yet for staff as there's a challenge period for the next five days when anyone can bring a challenge to the election results.
Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones says their office is prepared and says Hobbs would recuse herself from representing the secretary's office if a contest is filed in the governor's race.
"We have walls set up in the office to prevent her from being a part of any discussion of any of the legal issues related to that case."
In Cochise County, officials initially refused to certify election results until a judge ordered them to do so late last week. Two of the three board of supervisor members wanted to hear more about printer malfunctions in Maricopa County that happened on election day.
Election officials said no voters were disenfranchised, but some believe those printer problems are a sign of election fraud.
The certification opens a five-day window for formal election challenges. Republican Kari Lake, who lost the race for governor, is expected to file a lawsuit after weeks of criticizing the administration of the election.
Republicans have complained for weeks about Hobbs’ role in certifying her own victory over Lake in the race for governor, though it is typical for election officials to maintain their position while running for higher office. Lake and her allies have focused on problems with ballot printers that produced about 17,000 ballots that could not be tabulated on site and had to be counted at the elections department headquarters.
Lines backed up in some polling places, fueling Republican suspicions that some supporters were unable to cast a ballot, though there’s no evidence it affected the outcome. County officials say everyone was able to vote and all legal ballots were counted.
Hobbs planned to immediately petition the Maricopa County Superior Court to begin an automatic statewide recount required by law in three races decided by less than half a percentage point. The race for attorney general was one of the closest contests in state history, with Democrat Kris Mayes leading Republican Abe Hamadeh by just 510 votes out of 2.5 million cast.
The races for superintendent of public instruction and a state legislative seat in the Phoenix suburbs will also be recounted, but the margins are much larger.
Once a Democratic stronghold, Arizona’s top races went resoundingly for Democrats after Republicans nominated a slate of candidates backed by Trump who focused on supporting his false claims about the 2020 election. In addition to Hobbs and Mayes, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly was re-elected and Democrat Adrian Fontes won the race for attorney general.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.