The Mohave County Board of Supervisors is once again weighing the possibility of hand-counting ballots for the 2024 elections, including the November presidential election. The Republican-dominated board had previously rejected the idea in August, citing the estimated cost of approximately $11 million and the county’s $18 million budget deficit as reasons for their decision.
Chairman Travis Lingenfelter, who had voted against hand-counting in August, has now placed the proposal back on the agenda for an upcoming meeting. If he changes his vote and no one else opposes the idea, the hand count will move forward.
State Attorney General Kris Mayes and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, both Democrats, have previously stated that hand-counting ballots would be illegal under state law. However, a lawyer named Bryan Blehm recently sent a letter to the supervisors, asserting that hand-counting is legal and within Mohave County’s rights. He also offered to represent the county at no cost if any legal action is taken.
Supervisor Buster Johnson expressed concerns about the cost, legality, and potential inaccuracies of hand-counting, as well as the reliability of volunteers who would be needed for the task. He questioned the idea of returning to outdated methods, asking if the county wanted to “go back to the horse and buggy.” The Mohave County Republican Central Committee has offered over 300 volunteers to assist with the hand count if approved.
Pressure to eliminate voting machines has been mounting on supervisors across the state, with Republican state Sens. Sonny Borrelli and Wendy Rogers advocating for the change. However, no county has committed to hand-counting thus far.
Despite the potential legal challenges and practical difficulties, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors will deliberate on the matter once more. The decision they reach will shape how the county approaches the counting of ballots in the upcoming elections.
If you wish to speak out on this agenda item, please be at the Board of Supervisors Auditorium. 700 Beale Street, Kingman, 86401 this coming Monday, November 20th, at 9:30am.