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Conservative Arizona county votes against hand-counting ballots in 2024 election

Conservative counties in northwestern Arizona on Tuesday voted against proposals to hand-count ballots in the 2024 election, following remarks by the local elections director. argued against It was proposed due to its high cost and high demand for workers.

Mojave County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 against plan. Supervisors Ron Gould and Hildy Angius voted in favor, but three other supervisors, including board chairman Travis Ringenfelter, voted against. Lingenfelter pointed to the county’s current budget deficit to protect his vote.

“If you look at the Mojave County budget, it’s a conservative budget, so this is really tough,” Lingenfelter said.

“But the first thing we have to do in Mojave County with common sense is to balance the budget,” he continued. “You can’t talk about spending when you have an $18 million to $20 million deficit. I mean, it’s irresponsible.”

Mojave County Elections Commissioner Allen Tempert spoke before the vote, highlighting the confidentiality, timeliness, accuracy and cost considerations of the hand-counting process. Tempert led the review of the proposal, which found the county would have to employ hundreds of people and spend more than $1.1 million to count the ballots, and spend another $31,360 to recount.

Tempert expressed concern about the confidentiality of the hand-counting process. “It’s obviously not possible to have hundreds of people manually tally it,” he says. “And they don’t go home and tell their husbands, wives, best friends, etc. what they saw and what was going on all day.”

Mr. Tempert pointed to the requirement that ballot counting must be completed within 14 days after the primary election and within 20 days after the general election, which he called “really mandatory.”

“Considering the 105,000 votes cast in the 2020 general election, it’s a huge undertaking in a short amount of time,” Tempert said.

Tempert responded to reports that hand counting was more accurate than machine counting, calling it “not true.” Tempert’s research found that employees made 46 errors while manually testing 850 ballots over three days.

Mojave and Cochise counties delayed proving votes in the 2022 election after Republican lawmakers claimed voters were disenfranchised. In Cochise County, conspiracy theorists argued that the county’s ballot counting machines were not properly certified. Cochise County approved a hand-counting proposal last year, but it was later blocked by a judge.

The Hill has reached out to the Mojave County Election Commission for further comment.

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