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A local Arizona elections chief who quit in a ballot-counting dispute just got a top state job

PHOENIX (AP) — The former elections director for a rural Arizona county who resigned last year because of a flap over the hand-counting of ballots has been elevated to a top electoral post for the state.

Lisa Marra left her job in southeastern Arizona's largely Republican Cochise County last year after she refused to follow the directives of the area's two GOP supervisors who wanted a hand count of ballots cast in the 2022 election.

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, in recent days appointed Marra as the state's elections director. She had been a state assistant elections director since 2023.

Marra will be the point person for elections officials in Arizona's 15 counties and will oversee equipment testing, candidate and petition filing, election night reporting and canvassing.

She replaces former elections director Colleen Connor, who was named to the new post of state policy director, monitoring election-related lawsuits and overseeing implementation of the state’s elections procedures manual.

Marra resigned after refusing to help with a hand count of 2022 midterm ballots demanded by the GOP majority on the Cochise County board, saying it would be illegal for her to do so.

The conservative-majority board refused to certify the results after a judge blocked their hand count. They were then ordered to certify the election.

Marra later won a $130,000 settlement from the county to compensate for her treatment.

Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby have since been indicted and pleaded not guilty to felony charges for delaying the certification of their county’s midterm election results. A trial was set for May 16.