WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Oct. 24, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a proposal to conduct a hand count audit all of its ballots in this year’s elections. The proposal, from a group of county residents, is a direct consequence of conspiracy theories about the accuracy of voting machines. The board’s two Republican members voted in favor while the lone Democrat voted against the proposal. The decision to approve hand counting comes even after the county lawyer warned it would be illegal and would not defend it in court.
Under the proposal, the county recorder or other designated official would undertake efforts to count all of the county’s ballots by hand for every race on the ballot. The count would have to be completed prior to the certification deadline. Supporters of the measure argue it’s necessary to restore confidence in elections, while opponents objected to its illegality and impact on timely certification of results. A county poll worker noted the county already conducts a hand count of select races and precincts to ensure voting machines are accurate.
Cochise County is not alone in attempting to hand count ballots this year. Nye County, Nevada was sued twice by the American Civil Liberties Union after adopting a similar hand count procedure. In Arizona, Republican statewide candidates Kari Lake and Mark Finchem filed a lawsuit asking for voting machines to be banned and all elections to be decided by hand counting ballots. Election experts agree that hand counts are not only more costly and logistically difficult, but are also less accurate than using electronic machines.