Deep red Arizona county insisted on hand counting ballots – until they saw the price tag

Sometimes even the most MAGA-minded will come to their senses when money is involved. Such as Arizona's deep red Mohave County that has overcome its Trump-fueled fear of voting machines, deciding to use the machines rather than spend over a million bucks to hand count ballots in next year's elections.

"I'm willing to have further conversations about this, but the first thing that we have to do in Mohave County in good conscious is to balance the budget. You can't talk about any other spending when you have 18 — 20 million dollar deficit," said Travis Lingenfelter (member of the all-Republican Board of Supervisors), who voted against hand counting ballots in a 3-2 vote.

This bucks the GOP trend of pushing Trump's election fraud conspiracy theory, which is still going strong in Georgia and other states.

Jane C. Timm at NBC News:

After the 2020 election, the Arizona state Senate authorized a controversial hand-count audit of two races. The audit took months and cost millions, and — by its leadership's own account in text messages obtained by The Arizona Republic — failed to result in an accurate count. …

In June, the Mohave County's Board of Supervisors asked the county elections office to develop a plan for tabulating 2024 results by hand. … The test run took place in late June, when elections workers spent three days hand-counting a batch of 850 test ballots from the 2022 election, bringing in seven part-time staffers eight-hour days of counting and four full-time staffers who monitored the process.

There were counting errors in 46 of 30,600 races on the ballots, as the team tallying the results of the election made mistakes. According to a report prepared for the Board of Supervisors, some of the observed errors included: bored and tired staffers who stopped watching the process, messy handwriting in tallies, fast talkers, or staffers who heard or said the wrong candidate's name.

Each ballot took three minutes to count, Tempert said. At that pace, it would take a group of seven staffers at least 657 eight-hour days to count 105,000 ballots, the number of ballots cast in 2020. Mohave County would need to hire at least 245 people to tally results and have counting take place seven days a week, including holidays, for nearly three weeks. That estimate doesn't include the time needed for reconciling mistakes, or counting write-in ballots, Tempert's report added. …

The total cost for the staffing, renting for a large venue for the counting, security cameras, and other associated costs was staggering: $1,108,486.

"That's larger than my budget for the whole year, to run the whole election for the whole year!" Elections Director Allen Tempert said about the costs. Sometimes all it takes to flush out the Qnuts is a bit of sticker shock.