PHOENIX (AP) — The county oversight boards in southern Arizona will meet next week to consider counting nearly all ballots cast in person on Election Day. tally the votes.
The actual count could begin before the Cochise County board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, and local prosecutors warn that starting at any time could lead to criminal charges. .
movement will come in a few days after a judge has ruled on the state law Prohibits expanding the regular minority handcount audit of early voting. He also ruled that his 100% handcount of Election Day ballots was illegal. This is because the constituency expansion selected for these reviews must be chosen at random.
The Republican-dominated Cochise County board has taken that part of the order literally and is proposing to extend the count to 99.9% of the votes cast on Election Day.
Elected county attorney Brian McIntyre told the commission and its attorneys in a letter Thursday that moving forward with the plan could lead to felony charges against participants for violating numerous laws. .
“Based on the statements of two elected officials in this connection, we have alerted the appropriate authorities to possible violations,” McIntyre wrote. “I sincerely hope that no action will be required of them and that the rule of law will prevail.”
He said ballots were held by the county board of elections and that if Republican county recorder David Stevens hand-counted the ballots, he could remove the ballots or prove the results to her. interfering with the work of others would be one of the felonies committed.
It’s also not unchallenged by the group that won a court order Monday by appealing to have it stopped. rice field.
Lisa Cutler, a spokeswoman for the Alliance for Retired Americans, said in a statement it was “considering legal options.”
It’s unclear when the hand count will begin. Stevens said earlier this week that he hopes to start on Monday. He also said Tuesday’s meeting agenda could start counting before board approval. However, Stevens has not yet answered direct questions on the matter.
The entry states that Stevens lined up over 200 volunteers to tally the results of the four races.
“They are participating in this way to help people who have lost faith in the election (including some of the participants) to make sure the election is credible and safe in our county. We would like to,” said the agenda. A handcount is nothing more than a larger randomized audit of machine accuracy and a test of your backup plan in case some or all of your machines are compromised or fail at the last minute. ”
The county commission and two Republicans with a majority in Stevens are appealing Monday’s decision, but the state Supreme Court declined to expedite the appeal in an order released Friday.Arizona The Court of Appeals also refused to expedite it, instead setting a regular briefing schedule, with a decision several months away.
Board member Peggy Judd did not respond to a call for comment Friday. Another 27,000 voters voted early, but there’s no way around a Pima County Superior Court judge’s ruling to block the expansion of the usual 1% fee audit.
State law establishes rules for hand-counting audits used to verify the machines used to tally votes in Arizona. On Election Day voting, the county can select her 2% of the county’s districts, or two districts, for handcount. The ruling states that the board can expand it, but only if done at random.
Cochise County’s move delays the November 23 election certification required by the county and could spill over to the state level.
A regular small hand count will be conducted Saturday by county election officials opposing the expansion. The four races to be checked were chosen by lottery with representatives of political parties in attendance earlier this week.
Stevens made his own race choice, but Democrats refused to participate, said Jim Burton, an attorney representing the Arizona Democratic Party.
“I think this cute ‘just do it 99%’ shows disregard for the law. It’s shocking. The fact that I am involved is embarrassing.”
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