“Cochise County elections director resigns after protecting midterm ballots from Republican officials”

Votebeat Arizona:

During last fall’s fights in Cochise County over hand-counting ballots and rejecting the election results, county residents say they were glad there was one person standing up to defend elections.

Elections Director Lisa Marra repeatedly explained — to the supervisors, to reporters, and, finally, to a judge — that she would not break the law and release the ballots from her custody, as two Republican supervisors and the county recorder had ordered her to do.

“I believe that is a felony,” Marra testified during a Nov. 4 court hearing challenging the full hand count. The judge later ruled that the full hand count would be illegal.

Now Marra is leaving her post. Her departure after five years running elections in the rural southern Arizona county leaves many residents there concerned about the accuracy and security of future elections. Marra, also president of the Election Officials of Arizona, is known across the nation as a fierce defender of election integrity.

County Democratic Party Chairwoman Elisabeth Tyndall said it was reassuring that a trusted person such as Marra was running elections during the controversies, as she “wasn’t going to just let the election deniers have their way with our votes or our ballots.”

“It is kind of scary what may happen going forward,” Tyndall said, “without having someone as knowledgeable and brave as Lisa in that office.”

Marra  resigned through a letter to the county from her attorney, she confirmed to Votebeat on Tuesday. Marra is to be employed by the county for 15 more days.

Marra’s attorney wrote in the letter that her working environment was threatening, both physically and emotionally, and she was publicly disparaged, according to the Washington Post, which first reported on her resignation and the letter. 

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