The first was Cochise County.
Then there is Mojave County.
On Wednesday, Republican Senators Sonny Borrelli and Wendy Rogers took part in the third of their tours to convince regulators of Republican majority counties across Arizona to agree to hand-count ballots. I visited Pinal County as a visiting place.
Through hour-long presentations and discussions, they informed Pinal County regulators about the results of next year’s elections, including the Republican presidential preference election in March, the other race primary in August, and the general election in November. I asked them to count manually.
While claiming to be “presenting the facts,” they have been repeatedly proven to be untrue and have joined an election conspiracy that fuels unfounded fears of unfair elections.
“This is the reason for border incursions,” Rogers said. “This is why our economy is dying. This is why there is filth in our schools. This is why our children are being trafficked. This is why , which is why the metropolitan areas in particular are declining.
They framed the issue as a non-political issue of national security, repeating many of the same points they used in Mojave County, while revising many of the election-related bills proposed by conservatives in the recent Congress. He criticized Governor Katie Hobbs and other Democrats for blocking it. .
“Our detractors like to throw away everything but the kitchen sink and hope there’s something left,” Borrelli said.
Mr. Rogers promised county supervisors that he could be the leader to “take back elections county by county.”
“Arizona has only 15 counties,” says Rogers. “You are the executors of the election. You are at a turning point in history.”
They applauded manual counting, even though trials have shown that it is less accurate, more expensive, and much slower than machine counting.
A Mojave County report concluded that counting all 105,000 votes cast in the 2020 general election would take a group of seven people eight hours a day and about 657 days, which includes: It does not include the extra time required to correct errors or consider ballots. writing candidate. Mojave County Election Commissioner Allen Tempert said the effort could cost more than $1 million.
Elections 2024:Mojave County votes against hand-counting ballots
Borrelli said Tempert’s aggregate model is not the most efficient and does not take into account the number of people likely to voluntarily participate in such efforts. Yet other tests on hand counting have reached similar conclusions.
Former Pinal County Election Commissioner Geraldine Rolle has abruptly resigned from her post after beginning a trial tally of 2,000 test ballots from the 2022 election. She found that it took her team about 80 minutes to tally each batch of 25 ballots.
Amid the high-profile “audit” of the Arizona Senate into the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County, Cyberninjaz CEO Doug Logan said in a text message that the county’s 2.1 million votes could not be counted accurately. Admitting that the numbers were “crazy”.
In a presentation in Florence on Wednesday, Mr. Borelli cited a non-binding congressional resolution passed with only Republican support earlier this year calling for leaders in all 15 Arizona counties to count ballots. , after writing a letter asking the company to stop using the current tallying machine.
Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said the move had no legal basis, and Mr. Borrelli’s claims were also criticized by some Republican lawmakers. Borelli’s letter echoed the bill he proposed, Senate Bill 1074, which Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed in April.
Will Pinal County take the plunge?
In Mojave County, legislators’ visits were ineffective. Less than 24 hours after legislators appeared in Florence, Kingman city regulators voted 3-2 against plans to manually tally votes in 2024.
Meanwhile, a legal battle continues over whether Cochise County can recount the 2022 election results entirely manually.
When Pinal County previously considered increasing the number of votes cast in the November election, regulators unanimously rejected it.
But the county may still be ripe for plans to hand-count ballots next year. Nearly every board meeting in recent months has included a petition to manually count at least one speaker during public comment. Wednesday was no exception, with nearly 20 people on the podium.
Most were in favour, many on the Pinal County Republican Commission. A few people who called themselves Democrats objected to the idea of manually counting ballots.
The 2024 ballot is contesting the positions of superintendent, county registrar, and county attorney. Republicans hold all of these jobs, and most are expected to run for re-election.
Mojave County regulators voted against hand counting on Tuesday, unlike Maricopa County, which had widespread printer problems on Election Day that didn’t affect the results but led to queues and voter frustration. , the county noted that the 2022 election went well.
“I don’t understand why you’re here and you’re not there when you’ve never had a real problem with an election,” said Travis Lingenfelter, chairman of the Mojave County Board of Supervisors.
Pinal County officials cannot make the same claim. Last year, we encountered several election mishaps, including a 500-vote undercount that was discovered during recounts of two closely contested statewide elections. Although the undercount did not affect the outcome of the election, it fueled a conspiracy over the integrity of the election and raised concerns about electoral administration in the county.
Pinal County Republican Commissioner Belinda Rodriguez said: “This gives voters peace of mind that we have done everything we can to ensure the election is safe and honest. would,’ he said.
What’s next for the manual counting proposal in Pinal County?
The legislators’ presentation received mixed reactions from Pinal County regulators.
Supervisor Kevin Kavanaugh, who has previously called for more manual ballot counting, said he was “not confident” in machine counting, suggesting manual counting would be possible in 2024.
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“Within a week, I’m sure we can come up with a system that can count faster than Mojave County,” he said.
His colleague seemed less convinced. Supervisors Stephen Miller and Mike Goodman said they wanted more information about the legality of hand counting and argued they should wait to see how the Cochise County legal battle unfolds before making a decision. bottom.
Miller also said the county needs an elections official to replace Rolle “before it makes any big headway.” So far, it’s been difficult to find experienced election officials in Arizona, according to Pinal County Recorder Dana Lewis.
Supervisor Jeffrey McClure didn’t seem too enthusiastic about hand counting. He raised logistical issues such as slow counting and the need for manpower.
“I’m not saying there’s no way to do it,” he said. “I’m just pointing out that the numbers are huge.”
In the end, the meeting ended without immediate instructions from the boss to the staff. They said they had not yet requested a formal report on the feasibility of handcounting.
Nevertheless, the two leaders agreed that they would discuss the issue again, perhaps next month.
As the debate about the move drew to a close, Mr. Rogers made a last-minute promise to county officials.
“We are strong and united in this regard,” she said. “So if you get sued — that’s the trend, so stay tuned — we’re here to help you.”
Sasha Hapka covers regional issues in Maricopa County, Pinal County, and the Republic of Arizona.Do you have any tips to share regarding her election and voting?Contact her email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SashaHupka.