Some lawmakers want to eliminate voting machines

A contractor working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, yawns as Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted on May 6, 2021, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Some Arizona lawmakers are floating the idea of doing away with voting machines and using exclusively hand counts in future elections. /PHOTO BY MATT YORK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Kyra Haas | Arizona Capitol Times 

Some Republican lawmakers are considering long-term changes to how Arizonans’ votes are counted as the hand recount of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots drags on at Veterans Memorial Coliseum more than six months after the election. 

One proposal is nixing voting machine use altogether and switching to hand counting ballots in an effort to avoid unfounded vulnerabilities these lawmakers see with the machines, particularly Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion has faced unproven allegations since the election that its hardware and software were either programmed or hacked to switch Donald Trump votes to Joe Biden.  

“I know the grassroots wants that,” state Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said. “There’s a lot of push nationally to get rid of the machines because people feel like they can be manipulated.” 

The idea is one in a long list of proposed unusual tweaks to how Arizona does elections, from Rep. Mark Finchem’s push for adding UV-light activated watermarks to ballots to Townsend’s calling for all voting equipment and materials to be made in America. 

Proponents of getting rid of voting machines want volunteers at the precinct level to hand count ballots on Election Day. 

Townsend said she hadn’t heard as much interest in ditching voting machine use at the Capitol, and she said she’ll need to do more research before she’s fully onboard. However, she and some of her colleagues have voiced support for the idea online. 

“Can we get something besides Dominion Voting Systems?” Townsend asked on Twitter on May 20. “Better yet, how about we go back to hand counts at the precinct level and ditch the machines altogether?” 

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