WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Board of Supervisors in Pinal County, Arizona voted against expanding a hand count audit of the midterm elections. Under current Arizona law, Pinal County is expected to conduct a hand count audit of the regular ballots cast, either in two percent of the county’s precincts or in two precincts, whichever is greater. Board member Kevin Cavanaugh proposed expanding that percentage to an unknown higher amount, citing a potential six percent figure during Wednesday’s meeting. Cavanaugh clarified that he did not intend for Pinal County to follow in the footsteps of Cochise County, Arizona, which showed interest in conducting a “100% County wide hand count audit.” (Cochise County is now facing a lawsuit, as hand counting all ballots or including early ballots in the audit would violate Arizona law.)
South of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Pinal County is Arizona’s third largest county with 450,000 residents. During the hearing on Wednesday, ten of the 12 residents who gave public comment spoke in opposition of the motion to expand the hand count, before the board ultimately rejected the proposal.
In 2022, an increasing number of counties are considering expanding hand count audits in the face of pressure from residents who believe conspiracies about electronic voting machines. In addition to Cochise County, Arizona, Nye County, Nevada is attempting to move forward with a full hand count, alongside electronic tabulation, despite orders from the Nevada Supreme Court and secretary of state that aspects of that method will violate state law.