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Arizona, Pennsylvania Counties Offer Potential 2024 Preview

The Republicans did not do well in Pennsylvania and Arizona this cycle. The explanation that we're going with is that the Party ran lousy candidates on a platform that many voters found odious. However, the functionaries who are responsible for certifying the results in some counties have a very different explanation, namely that there must have been some sort of fraud. They can't say exactly what fraud took place, or how many votes were affected. They certainly can't provide proof. But they're convinced, dadgumit. And so they want more time to investigate and find the proof. Or make up the proof, if it comes to that.

There's one small problem, however. The deadline for certifying results in those states arrives this week. The canvassing boards had their opportunity, and weren't able to seize it, and that is that. They are now legally required to perform their duties and to make it official.

In some Republican-controlled counties, the elections boards are either in touch with reality or in touch with the fact that they do not wish to go to jail. In Maricopa County in Arizona, for example, the board held a lengthy public meeting in which all manner of nutty private citizens were allowed to have their say. And once those folks had shared their conspiratorial views, the all-Republican board promptly voted to certify the election. Similarly, the all-Republican board in Mohave County in Arizona was planning to withhold certification, but once it became clear that could lead to a visit to the hoosegow, they backed down and signed off on the results.

On the other hand, the folks responsible for certifying in Cochise County in Arizona say they're not going to do their job until they've had much more time to "investigate." The elections board in Luzerne County is making the same threat, though it looks like they might also back down before the deadline arrives on Friday. If the elections board members in either place, or both, stick to their guns, they are going to get sued and they are going to lose. Criminal charges are also possible, and with them another loss.

At a glance, this would appear to be bad news for the democracy—that the people charged with affirming election results are willing to reject them just because they don't like the outcome. However, we would suggest a different interpretation. The great majority of officials are falling into line, either because they believe in the process or because they fear punishment. And those who don't fall into line will quickly be forced to do so, at the business end of a judge's gavel. In turn, these temper tantrums will serve as yet another illustration that "stop the steal" is nonsense, while also reaffirming legal precedents that say "you can't do this." In other words, we would say that instead of making it easier to push back against the 2024 results, these folks are making it harder. (Z)

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