Judge Blocks Plan To Count Ballots

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Monday (November 7), Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey F. McGinley blocked the plan of a rural county in Arizona to hand count ballots.

The measure to hand-count ballots came from Republicans in the county who shared their unfounded beliefs that voting machines could not be trusted.

Following a full-day hearing on Friday (November 4), McGinley’s ruling on Monday stated that the county’s board of supervisors overstepped their authority when they ordered the county recorder to count all the ballots rather than the sample required by Arizona’s state law.

The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans opposed the decision taking the county’s board of supervisors to court, arguing the hand count was only permitted for a small portion of early ballots, a measure to determine whether the voting machines are accurate.

The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans also argued that the last-minute change could potentially delay certifying the election results and would cause chaos.

Lisa Marra, Cochise County Elections Director, also opposed expanding the hand count, testifying that the hand count would delay the result and put the ballot security at risk.

Although the lawsuit challenged hand counting of 30,000 early votes in their entirety when McGinley made the ruling, it included Election Day ballots and early voting ballots.

In his ruling, McGinley noted that the process would be “rendered superfluous” if the court determined 100% of the ballots was the precinct’s “starting point.”

McGinley explained that the law doesn’t permit election officials “begin the precinct hand-count by counting all ballots cast,” adding that the county’s Board, requiring this of election officials is “unlawful.”

This ruling is likely to be challenged, but not in time for the Elections which took place on Tuesday.