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Mohave County rejects proposal to hand-count ballots in 2024

Mojave County, Arizona — A county in northwestern Arizona has announced that a proposal to hand-count ballots during the 2024 election will cost more than $1.1 million and hire hundreds of new employees. refused after being warned that it would require

The Mojave County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against adopting handcount on Tuesday, with supervisors Ron Gould and Hildy Angius voting in favor. Board Chairman Travis Lingenfelter said during the meeting that Mojave County’s projected budget deficit could not justify the enormous cost of handcounting.

“With an $18 million to $20 million deficit, you can’t talk about other spending,” he said. “I mean, it’s irresponsible.”

Before the vote, Mojave County Elections Commissioner Allen Tempert told the commission that hand-counting ballots in upcoming elections would require more than 245 new jobs and cost about $1.1 million. rice field. Tempert also said an employee made a mistake during a manual test of 850 ballots his department conducted in June.

“Trying to put this many people together is going to be an astronomical task,” he said.

Deputy county attorney Ryan Esplin also expressed concern about the legality of the count.

RELATED: Pinal County election chief resigns, says he wasn’t shielded from political attacks

Mojave County is one of several counties in the United States considering manually counting ballots. Ahead of the 2022 general election, rural Cochise County in southeastern Arizona pursued a population count before the election was over. stopped by a judge. A similar effort in Nye County, Nevada was also covered. lawsuit last year.

in a while No evidence of widespread voter fraud Hand-counting ballots is popular among some in the 2020 election elected officialactivists and voters distrustful of US elections, spread a conspiracy about electoral equipment.Former President Donald Trump and His Allies Attack voting machines frequently There are unsubstantiated claims.Republican legislators in some states promoted law Requires manual counting of ballots instead of electronic counting machines.

David Becker, a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who is now executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said, “The policy is being pursued all over the country, mostly in reddish counties, where the widespread lies are being blamed.” We have a sympathetic county board.” he said earlier this year.

Ringenfelter said Mojave County received a letter in May from Republican Arizona Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borelli demanding that it not use an “electronic voting system” as the primary counting tool for federal elections. After that, they began to consider the concept of manual aggregation.

RELATED: These may be the most important elections on Arizona’s 2024 ballot

Borelli sent similar letters to other Arizona counties. In June, the board directed Mr. Tempert to develop a plan to hand-count ballots in the 2024 election cycle, and Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said such action would make Mojave County a “grave voter.” He publicly claimed that it would expose him to “legal danger.”

Mr Borelli defended the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting as a “national security issue”. Borrelli and the Republican press secretary for the Arizona Senate did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Lingenfelter told the Associated Press before Tuesday’s poll that he thought manual counting was valuable because of widespread mistrust of elections in the county, but that the county’s election equipment was fine. In Mojave County, registered Republican voters outnumber Democrats by nearly four to one.

Experts say the proposal is a logistical quagmire and could undermine the accuracy of Mojave County elections. According to research, Manual counting is less reliable and time consuming than machine counting.

RELATED: No, Arizona won’t ban e-voting machines for 2024 presidential election

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