AZ board members withdraw suit demanding that ballots be counted manually

Two Republican board members of a rural Arizona county who initially demanded their election director to count midterm ballots by hand are now withdrawing their lawsuit.

On Wednesday, two Republicans, who control the board of a rural southeastern Arizona County, told a judge that they want to withdraw the lawsuit they filed just two days before. The suit sought to forcibly their own elections director hand-count all ballots in-person on Election Day.

According to the court filing, one of the GOP supervisors from Cochise County stated that they didn’t want to interfere in the possible recount in the race in Arizona for attorney general. Late Wednesday afternoon, Democrat Kris Mayes led Republican Abraham Hamadeh well below the recount margin.

This year, the Legislature amended the state’s election recount statute to significantly increase the threshold for mandatory recounts. The law now requires a recount if the candidates are within.5%. The trigger for the race for attorney general is approximately 12,500 votes.


The Associated Press was informed by Supervisor Peggy Judd that she had agreed to withdraw the lawsuit filed against Lisa Marra, Elections Director, and Supervisor Tom Crosby on Monday. They did not want to disrupt statewide recounts. Once the state accepts all 15 Arizona county election certificates and the statewide vote totals, that will trigger the process.

Judd stated, “We had to take a step back from all we were trying and say, OK we’ve got the to let this play out.” “Because it is the last thing that we want to do (Marra’s) way.”

Christina Estes-Werther is Marra’s lawyer and she said that she expected a quick decision from the Pima County judge hearing the case.

Contractors in Phoenix, Arizona are currently reviewing and counting Maricopa County’s 2020 general election ballots. They will do so on May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt York, Pool, File)

Trump’s false claims and conspiracy theories about voting machines and widespread fraud gave impetus to the push for hand-counting ballots in Republican-heavy County, which is home to Tombstone. No evidence has been presented of widespread fraud or manipulation in the voting system during the 2020 midterm elections or this year’s.

The conspiracy theories are spreading widely, and have prompted heated public meetings across the West. There is a growing demand to abolish voting machines and replace them with paper ballots and complete hand-counts. These controversies almost delayed the certification of primary results in New Mexico earlier this year and have fueled a legal battle for a Nevada full hand count.


Crosby and Judd wanted hand-counting all 12,000 Election Day ballots as well as the 32,000 early votes. A judge ruled that the state law prohibits expanding the 1% audit of early ballots. This was prompted by a suit filed by a retired group. He stated that any expansion of the normal 2% of Election Day votes tallied to verify machine accuracy must be random.

Judd and Crosby proposed then to count 99% of Election Day votes. They settled on 16 of the 17 county voting sites. They were told by the Republican county prosecutor that they would be guilty of a felony if Marra refused to give them their ballots.

Wednesday’s statement by Judd was that she wanted Marra to win and that she would let Marra continue with her job.

Judd stated, “We’re trying make peace with her.” “She’s been really afraid of us for quite some time.”

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Judd stated that a machine recount of Judd’s attorney general race (and possibly others) will accomplish most of what their complete hand-count was intended to achieve.

Judd stated, “I believe we’ve done all of the damage or good — although I don’t say that was all damage. I think there were some positive outcomes.” “But we have done everything we can.”

The Cochise County hand count fight threatened to delay the Dec. 5 required statewide certification. After the official canvass, a recount could be done. This could take up to the end of the calendar year.

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