Rural Arizona county officials push ballot hand count

An "I voted" sticker accompanied 2020 election ballots sent out by official election mail in Maricopa County. Rebekah Zemansky /

Officials in a rural county in southeastern Arizona are backing a hand count of all ballots in November’s midterm election alongside the machine count, even though the Cochise County attorney’s office and state authorities have said they don’t have legal authority.

Cochise County Board of Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby have proposed the hand count being considered in a formal vote Monday afternoon. They are under pressure from voters in the heavily Republican county who believe Donald Trump’s false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

The third supervisor, a Democrat and Board Chair Ann English, has not taken a public position.

A similar hand-count push in rural Nevada’s Nye County prompted a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues it risks illegal release of election results. It is among the first counties in the nation to act on election conspiracies related to mistrust in voting machines.

Nevada’s state Supreme Court ruled Friday that Nye can start hand-counting mail-in ballots two weeks before Election Day, but it won’t be allowed to live-stream the tallying and must make other changes to its plans.

A federal judge in August dismissed a lawsuit by Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, and Mark Finchem, the Republican nominee for secretary of state, to require the state’s officials to count ballots by hand in November because of unfounded claims of voting machine problems.

There’s no evidence in Arizona or elsewhere in the United States that fraud, problems with ballot-counting equipment or other voting issues had any impact on the results of the 2020 election.

In Cochise County, Recorder David Stevens, a Republican, has said that with a hand count, there could be concerns about results being illegally leaked before they could legally be posted at 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 8. The county had about 62,000 votes cast in the 2020 general election.

Republished with the permission of The Associated Press.