Katie Hobbs defends Arizona elections against false claims by GOP candidates and officials

By Gregory Svirnovskiy

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs defended her state’s elections against baseless attacks by some Republicans, saying “with 100% confidence that elections in Arizona are secure and fair.”

“We’re going to continue to make sure of that in this 2022 election,” Hobbs, the state’s top elections official, said Thursday while casting her ballot in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary election. “These are just more of the same conspiracy theories that they’ve been running on this entire election. And more examples of how they’re working to undermine confidence in our elections and promote the ‘Big Lie.’”

Hobbs, the Democratic frontrunner in her party’s race for governor, will face off in November against the winner of the Aug. 2 Republican primary if she wins the nomination. A leading GOP gubernatorial contender, Kari Lake, has trumpeted lies about the 2020 vote in Arizona. And she hasn’t yet acknowledged whether she’d accept the results of the election if she loses.

Throughout Arizona, many Republican officials have tried to call into question the integrity of statewide elections. It’s a strategy for galvanizing support among supporters of former President Donald Trump and, in some cases, a litmus test for party loyalty.

On Monday, an urgent message appeared on the Arizona Republican Party’s Twitter account, falsely warning voters that ballots throughout the state were being stolen or destroyed in unsecured mailboxes. Election officials in Maricopa, Yavapai and Mojave counties, among others, denied those claims.

Lake has turned the 2020 election into a campaign issue. At the GOP gubernatorial debate in June, the Trump-endorsed former news anchor asked her opponents to raise a hand if they agreed “we had a corrupt, stolen election.”

Karrin Taylor Robson, the other leading contender for the Republican nomination, did not raise her hand. She’s called the 2020 election unfair, but has stopped short of saying that it was rigged or stolen.

“I’m not gonna play your stunt,” she said.

Lake later called her opponent’s refusal to raise her hand “sickening.” In recent weeks, Lake has moved to contest a potential loss in the Republican primary, noting publicly that Taylor Robson and allies such as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey “might be trying to set the stage for another steal.”

Hobbs has defended her office’s handling of the 2020 election for nearly two years. Last year, she consistently criticized the partisan election review handled by the now-bankrupt technology firm Cyber Ninjas.

“Nobody who is secretary of state right now would say that they expected this,” Hobbs said. “It’s been challenging. But I will say that I’m really proud of the work we did in 2020 to ensure that every Arizonan was able to cast their ballot safely and securely and not have to worry about their health and safety. And that we continue to stand up for the integrity of our elections.”