Cochise County Board of Supervisors reverses course, agrees to limited ballot hand count

(Arizona's Family)
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:18 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In an emergency meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 26, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors reversed course and voted to proceed with a partial hand count of the ballots from the upcoming general election.

The move came one day after Secretary of State Katie Hobbs warned the county not to go ahead with its plan to hand count all ballots. The state had given the county until 5 p.m., Wednesday to rescind the decision or face a lawsuit.

The meeting was closed off to the public and around 30-40 residents were forced to watch the meeting on a screen from the board’s normal meeting room. The board decided to meet in its executive conference room, which the public cannot enter.

The board also scheduled a Nov. 1 meeting to discuss legal representation for specific supervisors. The county attorney had already told the board that a full hand count was illegal and the board would be personally responsible for legal fees if a lawsuit was filed.

On Monday, the board voted 2-1 in favor of the full hand count. Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby voted for it while Chairwoman Ann English, a Democrat, voted against the measures and encouraged her colleagues to rethink their stance.

Under state law, a small percentage of ballots in selected races already go through a mandatory hand-count with bipartisan teams to check the accuracy of vote-counting machines after all the votes are counted.

Some in Cochise County have said they want a hand count to ensure its system is reliable and free from fraud despite zero evidence of widespread fraud.