The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office has rejected Pima County’s proposal to do a pilot project creating digital scans of ballots. The measure had been a key element of the county’s efforts to improve election procedures by electronically auditing a certain percentage of ballots. In a memo dated Wednesday, Assistant Secretary of State Jim Drake said the recent election has “once again demonstrated that our election machines are incredibly accurate and reliable.” As a result, the office doesn’t want to pay for bolstered audit measures. Pima County, then, should expect more of the same.
“We’re not interested in going it alone,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said.
Drake’s memo suggested that Pima County appeal to the Legislature for changes that would allow it to scan ballots by itself.
But Huckelberry dismissed the idea, saying he prefers to continue the hand-count audits now in place.
“What would happen if we had 15 different systems in Arizona?” he asked. “Scanning is not a panacea. As you know, we live in this time of distrust. The question is, how do we verify and reverify and verify again?”
Under Arizona law, counties are required to hand count 1 percent of early ballots and at least 2 percent of precincts.