“Republican” county supervisors in Mohave County, Arizona say that hand-counting ballots in 2024 to ensure the integrity of the election would be a luxurious indulgence that they just can’t afford. Plus, they say that Arizonans are too stupid to count anyway.
No, really. That’s pretty much what they’re saying.
The voters in most Arizona counties have been calling for the hand-counting of ballots ever since the 2020 election was stolen from President Trump. The 2022 midterms that resulted in the installation of Democrat Katie Hobbs as Governor didn’t help. Even podcaster Joe Rogan, who is no friend of conservatives, came out last week and admitted that the 2022 election was stolen from Kari Lake.
In order to prove to the rubes that it’s too expensive and inaccurate to hand-count the ballots, Mohave County ran a hand-counting experiment earlier this year. The experiment was totally and deliberately botched in order to sow mistrust in the process of hand-counting ballots, versus using the super-accurate Trust-o-Matic counting machines that still take several weeks to count all the ballots in Arizona after every election.
To run the experiment, Arizona county election supervisors used a test batch of 850 ballots from the 2022 midterms. They ran this experiment in June of this year. They brought in seven staffers to work eight-hour days counting the ballots, and an additional four staffers to serve as observers. Mohave County Elections Director Allen Tempert called it a “dream team” of seasoned election workers.
Each ballot had 36 races on it for the test. It took the “dream team” more than five full days to count the 850 ballots. In addition, the “dream team” made significant errors in 46 of the 30,600 individual races on the ballots. We’ll explain why the experiment was deliberately botched in a second.
Tempert told the county supervisors that if they paid 245 full-time staffers to count all the Mohave County ballots, it would take them three weeks to do it and it would cost $1.1 million—more than the county’s entire annual budget for everything. As a result, the “Republican” county supervisors voted 3-2 against hand-counting the ballots in Mohave County next year.
Here’s why this experiment was deliberately botched. Some of us are old enough to remember the Ye Olden Tymes before we used machines that no one trusted to count ballots. My father was in politics, so I’ve been around elections and in counting rooms on election nights since I was four years old in the 1970s. No state or municipality with large numbers of ballots tabulates the votes in the fashion that Mohave County just carried out its little experiment.
You don’t force each person counting to run through and count all 36 races on a ballot. No wonder they made so many mistakes. It makes your brain melt to do that.
Ballots used to be hand-counted in an assembly-line fashion. You get a ballot in front of you as a counter, and your job is to tally the votes for President and Vice President only. You then pass the ballot down the assembly line, and the next person counts only the votes for US Senator. The ballot goes down the assembly line, all the way to local dog catcher, until the votes on that ballot have all been tallied. Each person counting only has to look at one location on the ballot, rather than running through the mind-numbing process of reading all 36 races for eight-hour shifts.
As for the price tag, good grief! This isn’t hard folks.
Put out the word a couple of months before the election to both parties about election night.
“Republicans: You have to send 1,000 people to count ballots and an additional 500 to act as observers. Democrats: You have to send 1,000 people to count ballots and an additional 500 to act as observers. We’re going to grind it out and count all the ballots on election night. All of these are to be UNPAID, VOLUNTEER POSITIONS to ensure the integrity of the vote counting. Snacks and coffee will be provided.”
There you have it. Spend $5,000 on snacks and coffee, and boom! Hand-count the votes on election night. I just saved you $1,095,000 on counting the votes, Mohave County. Just do it the way everyone used to do it before these machines came along.
And you know what? Even if, for some reason, the voters in a state turn out to be too stupid to count, as Mohave County is implying, and it takes two or three weeks for results—so what? Wouldn’t we rather have election results that everyone trusts, instead of having every election questioned because we keep relying on these hackable and untrustworthy machines?