Republicans try again to force ‘impossible’ hand counts of elections and a return to precinct voting

Volunteer Kathleen OConnor tallies votes during a training session for hand counting voters ballots at a Nye County government building in Pahrump, Nevada, on October 15, 2022. David Becke || The Washington Post/Getty Images

By Caitlin Sievers || Arizona Mirror

Arizona Republicans have taken another step in their attempt to completely overhaul elections in the Grand Canyon State, with a proposed bill that would force hand counts in the state’s elections, a practice that elections experts say would be logistically impossible. 

The measure to ban votes from being counted with electronic tabulators — equipment used in every Arizona city and county, and in virtually every election office across the nation — stems from a demand from constituents requiring hand counts of election results because of their general mistrust of voting machines, said Rep. Cory McGarr, R-Marana.

A false belief that electronic ballot tabulators are designed to change votes so Republican candidates lose has become increasingly popular since President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. Believers in the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump began demanding hand counts following that election, and this isn’t the first time such a bill has been proposed in the Arizona legislature.

Jen Marson, a lobbyist for the Arizona Association of Counties, had a laundry list of questions for McGarr about his House Bill 2307, since it does not include any specifics about how the hand counts would work. 

McGarr said he didn’t have any suggestions for how to handle the hand count but was sure that the counties could “figure that out.” 

“This is impossible,” Marson told the committee. 


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February 2023