Arizona lawmaker proposes test to see how long hand count would take

Jan 31, 2023, 4:00 PM
An election worker inserts a stack of ballots into a scanning machine at the Maricopa County Tabula...
An election worker inserts a stack of ballots into a scanning machine at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on Nov. 10, 2022, in Phoenix. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — An Arizona lawmaker is proposing legislation that would pit man against machine in a ballot-counting showdown.

Senate Bill 1471, introduced by Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), calls for a test run to determine how much manpower and time it would take to hand count a full election.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer is staunchly against full hand counts, but he is on board with Kavanagh’s idea, which targets the state’s largest county.

“This legislation will build confidence in our election system by showing that machine tabulation is highly accurate, free of bias and fast,” Richer, a Republican, said in a statement.

The bill would limit the testing to counties with more than 2 million people, which means only Maricopa.

The proposal involves recounting a sample of ballot test decks from logic and accuracy testing for the 2022 general election.

The county would feed the actual ballots through a tabulating machine, while photocopies would be hand counted by volunteers teams, each of which would have members from at least two of the state’s three largest political parties.

After the count is done, “the officer in charge of elections shall estimate how many persons working 16 hours each day would be required to hand count the entire number of ballots cast in the November 2022 election,” the bill says.

The proposal doesn’t include any actions that would be required after the results are reported to state officials.

The bill calls for the testing to start by Sept. 1 of this year and for the legislation to be repealed at the end of February 2024, so the process wouldn’t be recurring.

Some Republicans have called for the elimination of machine counts, arguing without evidence that they are subject to fraud.

Last year, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by two Republican candidates, Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, that sought to stop the use of ballot tabulation machines in Arizona.

Lake, who was running for governor, and Finchem, a secretary of state candidate, went on to lose their races.

Arizona elections officials have been criticized for how long it takes them to finish counting ballots, something that would likely take much longer without tabulation machines.

Richer recently proposed changes to state law that would speed up the process.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(El Mirage Police Department Photo)...

West Valley fugitive who faked death arrested in Indiana

A West Valley fugitive who attempted to fake his death was arrested last week in Indiana, authorities said.
21 hours ago
(Rebecca Sasnett/Arizona Daily Star via AP)...
Associated Press

Report finds UA campus safety gaps after fatal shooting

A report found there were missed opportunities to investigate an expelled University of Arizona student who killed a professor last year.
21 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...

MCSO seeking information after multiple people shot at West Valley party

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is seeking information on a West Valley shooting at a party that left multiple people injured.
21 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoes grocery tax ban, signs 9 bills into law

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed two bills Tuesday, including one to ban local grocery taxes, and signed nine others into law.
21 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Surprise Police Department)...

Suspect dead following shooting with police in Surprise

A suspect died after being shot by police in the back of a car in Surprise on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
21 hours ago
(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...
Sponsored Content by OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

Here's what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Arizona lawmaker proposes test to see how long hand count would take