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Election security effort rejected in key swing state

Voters fill out their ballots while voting. (Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star/TNS)
August 04, 2023

A county in Arizona voted Wednesday against hand-counting ballots in the 2024 election, once again placing the spotlight on a swing state that is expected to play a pivotal role in next year’s election.

The Mohave County Republican Central Committee announced the Mohave County Board of Supervisors’ decision in a statement on Twitter Wednesday, saying “The Mohave Board of Supervisors voted down the hand count proposal to restore election integrity in a 3-2 vote.”

According to NBC News, the Mohave County vote came after Republicans discovered that hand-counting ballots would cost the county over $1 million in next year’s election.

The Board of Supervisors also discovered hand-counting ballots could yield inaccurate results, based on an experiment conducted with test ballots.

“I’m willing to have further conversations about this, but the first thing that we have to do in Mohave County in good conscious is to balance the budget,” Supervisor Travis Lingenfelter said. “You can’t talk about any other spending when you have 18 — 20 million dollar deficit. That’s irresponsible.”

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In the aftermath of the hotly contested 2020 election, conservatives, led by former President Donald Trump, have urged lawmakers to pass legislation requiring the hand-counting of ballots instead of relying on electronic voting machines. Conservatives have argued that hand-counting ballots would result in more accurate election results.

Mohave County conducted a test run of hand-counting ballots in June. Election workers reportedly spent a total of three days counting 850 test ballots from the 2022 midterm election. During the testing period, seven part-time staff members and four full-time staff members worked eight-hour days.

The hand-counting trial resulted in errors on 46 of the 30,600 races on the test ballots. A report provided to Mohave County’s Board of Supervisors noted that the errors included staff members who became bored or tired and failed to adequately watch the ballot-counting process, poor handwriting used for tallying results, and staff members who either heard or said the wrong candidate’s name while counting ballots.

Based on the trial conducted in Mohave County, the proposal for hand-counting ballots in the 2024 election reportedly would cost $1,108,486.

“That’s larger than my budget for the whole year, to run the whole election for the whole year!” Elections Director Allen Tempert said.