Top Arizona officials signed documents Monday to certify the results of the state’s midterm elections, carrying out a normally routine task that had become troubled in a state where Republican activists and candidates have claimed without evidence that the election results were irreparably marred by widespread problems.
Two conservative counties in Arizona initially delayed certifying their results but eventually did so. In one case, in Cochise County, certification was issued only by order of a judge.
Finally, at an event Monday closed to the public but broadcast live, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who won this year’s gubernatorial race, signed paperwork to certify the results in the 15 counties.
Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, both Republicans, also signed the certifications, as well as Robert Brutinel, the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.
In a speech before the documents were signed, Ms Hobbs addressed some of the conspiracy theories that have been circulating and said the election was properly conducted.
“Powerful voices spread misinformation that threatened to disenfranchise voters,” she said. “Democracy prevailed, but it is not out of the woods.”
Mr. Ducey, the outgoing governor, explained that state law required certification as part of the democratic process.
“I took an oath to uphold the law,” he said.
Ms. Hobbs’s gubernatorial opponent, Kari Lake, who lost by more than 17,000 votes, ran a campaign heavily focused on bogus conspiratorial claims of stolen elections. She and her allies have vowed to continue to fight the outcome, casting doubt on the results with public statements and social media posts.
The efforts have made Arizona the center of the national election denial movement, attracting activists who have gained influence by spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election as they speak out at protests and local government hearings.
Ms Lake and Republican nominee for attorney general Abraham Hamadeh have suggested that after certification they could file lawsuits challenging the election results. Mr Hamadeh trails Kris Mayes, a Democrat, by about 500 votes in a race that has yet to be called and is heading for a recount.
Mr Hamadeh previously filed a lawsuit asking a judge to declare him the winner, which the court dismissed as ‘premature’ since under state law a lawsuit challenging the results must be filed after certification of an election, not before. . (Such a challenge must be filed within five days of certification.)
Republican candidates and their allies, including right-wing activists and media figures like Donald J. Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, have claimed for weeks without evidence that voters in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and is the largest county in Arizona, were “disenfranchised”.
They reported technical glitches on polling day that led to long queues at some polling stations. But in fact, there were no signs of widespread disenfranchisement of voters, as voters who encountered problems were able to vote through back-up systems or at other polling places.
A New York Times review of dozens of accounts from voters, election officials and observers published by Ms Lake and her allies found that many voters acknowledged that, although embarrassed, they were finally able to vote .