Arizona secretary of state does not count ballots on Election Day
PHOENIX — The Arizona Secretary of State’s office may be in charge of distributing election results on Tuesday, but when it comes to counting the ballots, the state’s largest elections office is hands off.
Secretary of State Michele Reagan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Tuesday that collecting and counting ballots is done completely at the county recorders’ offices.
“In reality, we’re a big calculator tonight,” Reagan said. “We take all the numbers from all the counties and add them up and give them to the public and to the press. Many of you will be logged into our system and will be able to see the numbers in real time.”
In reality, Reagan added, the secretary of state’s office does not even touch a ballot on Election Day.
“It’s also a misnomer to think that the ballots are being counted by us,” she said.
“We don’t actually touch a ballot, they all go back to the county recorders,” who then go on to count the ballots by feeding them through machines and double-checking them using hand counts and random sampling.
Reagan also said the state has not seen any reports of “nefarious activity” involving any potential Election Day hacks — unlike the 2016 midterm election.
“The biggest thing we’re always concerned about is making sure information isn’t tinkered with. That’s the world we live in,” Reagan said.
“One of the reasons we were running a little behind is because we got a call from Montana and they’re having some issues. It looked like a server in a foreign country,” she added.
Officials believed that the state’s election database was hacked by Russia during the 2016 presidential election, but Reagan’s office said they did not believe any votes were manipulated or changed.
“We’ve upped our security protocol and our cyber security and the whole bit,” Reagan said. “We got really lucky two years ago that they didn’t get in, but the thought of someone trying is a creepy feeling.”