State Watch

GOP-controlled Arizona county backs hand-counting ballots despite warnings

Arizona’s GOP-controlled Cochise County on Monday approved a proposal to hand-count its midterm ballots, alongside the machine count, despite warnings from a county attorney not to move forward with the measure.

The Cochise County Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 to allow the hand-count, with the board’s lone Democrat opposing. Republican Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby supported the move in the face of concerns that a hand-count would open the county up to lawsuits. 

“I implore you not to attempt to order this separate hand-count,” County Attorney Brian McIntyre, a Republican, told the board, warning the action would be unlawful and supervisors could be held personally liable in a civil action, according to The Associated Press.

The proposal, presented by Crosby, cited a lack of voter trust in the elections system and argued that a hand-count would serve as an “audit” to “enhance voter confidence.” 

During public testimony at the board’s meeting, some countered that the hand-count would actually help stoke the “Big Lie” and conspiracies that the election process was insecure.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), who is running for governor, warned that her office would take “all available legal action” to ensure the county complied with state law.

“We sincerely hope such action is unnecessary and the Board will follow the advice of its own attorney,” she added.

In the midst of former President Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, many of his supporters have come to mistrust voting machines and push for hand-counts.

Arizona’s Maricopa County came into focus in after President Biden won the state by a small margin — but a high-profile audit commissioned by the state’s GOP-controlled state Senate ultimately confirmed Biden’s win.  

The Grand Canyon State has been dealing with a number of elections security issues in recent days.  

Last week, Hobbs referred reports of possible voter intimidation to the U.S. Department of Justice and the state’s attorney general for investigation. 

And on Saturday, Arizona officials warned of armed “vigilantes” in tactical gear near a drop box in Mesa. 

A separate proposal presented to the Cochise County Board of Supervisors by Judd earlier Tuesday also ordered a recount but said more than 100 volunteers “have mobilized and seek to be vetted, [be] trained and participate” in the hand-count.  

“They are wishing to take part in this way to help people (including a few of the participants) who have lost trust in elections to see that elections are reliable and secure in our county,” the proposal says of the volunteers.  

Judd and Crosby, the GOP board members, rejected that proposal before passing the hand-counting measure without that language.

Tags Arizona Biden Cochise County Donald Trump election security elections hand count Katie Hobbs maricopa county voter confidence Voting

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