Pima County will no longer make use of precinct scanners at polling locations after the Pima County Board of Supervisors rejected a measure to spend $1.8 million to replace them. The board’s decision came despite a recommendation by Pima County Election Integrity Commission (PCEIC) to keep the scanners in place since they allow for an electronic count at polling locations, serving as a way to double check ballots when they are tallied in the central count system. Bill Beard, District 1 PCEIC representative called the board’s decision frustrating, particularly since he says Pima County has a poor track record with handling elections in the past. “If the board is truly concerned about the matter, perhaps actually listening to the advisers they appointed to advise them on thing elections-related might be a good place to start,” he said, also noting that District 1’s Ally Miller was the only supervisor to vote in favor of the PCEIC’s recommendation to keep scanners in place.
… Last week, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry submitted a response to Beard’s op-ed, saying it no longer make sense to employ precinct scanners due the fact voter habits don’t support spending the $1.8 million.
According to Huckelberry, 70 percent of voters in 2012 used mail ballots, and trends show that number will be closer to 80 percent by 2016. “It doesn’t make sense to spend $1.8 million for polling place scanners that will process only 20 percent of the ballots in 2016, with that percentage continuing to dwindle over time,” he wrote.