WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Oct. 26, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors backtracked on plans for a full hand count audit of 2022 ballots. In response to a letter sent from the secretary of state’s office requesting clarification on the county’s vote-counting processes, the board stated it would not conduct a hand count of all ballots and instead would conduct an “expanded hand count audit” in compliance with all requirements of Arizona law, such as limiting a hand count to only a few races and excluding all early ballots.
After voting on Monday for a “100% County wide hand count audit” of the 2022 election, the Arizona secretary of state’s elections director sent a letter to the board informing them that a full hand count audit would violate Arizona law. The letter also requested that Cochise County affirm that it would not attempt to conduct a full hand count and would, instead, follow all applicable law. If, by a 5 p.m. local time deadline, the county had refused to agree or continued to take steps to conduct a full hand count, the secretary of state would have taken legal action.
The Cochise County attorney has refused to defend the county in any legal actions over the audit. The commission agreed to table the discussion of obtaining outside legal representation until Nov. 1.