Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes, who is embroiled in an election lawsuit from Republican Abe Hamadeh contesting his loss to her by 280 votes, reversed an opinion on May 18 from previous Attorney General Mark Brnovich stating that counties have statutory authority to conduct hand counts of ballots. The difference in opinions came down to whether counties could conduct hand counts of all the ballots in five contested races, or merely a small percentage of ballots in those five races.
Mayes sent a letter to the original legislator who requested the opinion from Brnovich, State Sen. David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista). “This is to inform you that Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. I22-004, dated October 28, 2022, is withdrawn and superseded by the following formal Opinion of the same number dated May 18, 2023,” she said. “Please discard the opinion dated October 28, 2022.”
Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre was arrested early in the morning on January 28 for a “super extreme” DUI. McIntyre, who became nationally known for feuding with the Cochise County Supervisors over their efforts to conduct a hand count of ballots during the 2022 midterm election and reject their vote certifying the results, blew a .21 BAC, more than twice the legal limit.
Fernando “Jack” Dona, Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired), a retired U.S. Army Intelligence Electronic Warfare Aviation Field Systems Engineer and former Staff Sergeant Major of the Training Development and Support Directorate at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, called for McIntyre to resign. “Sir, if you had any honor and integrity you would have already immediately resigned your position as County Attorney, and thrown yourself at the mercy of the court. The above video of your arrest for EXTREME DUI is an absolute disgrace and embarrassment to Cochise County, Arizona.
Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jim O’Connor and a group of concerned Arizonans have made some progress in their efforts to convince Arizona’s counties to refrain from using electronic voting machine tabulators in the Nov. 8 election. The Cochise County Supervisors (CCBOS) voted two to one during a meeting on Monday to conduct a hand count in addition to using the machines, although due to a threat from Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ State Elections Director Kori Lorick, it may only be a partial hand count.
“It’s about the people. It’s about our right to vote and have our votes counted and feel confident in the election process,” Republican board member Peggy Judd said, explaining why the hand count is needed. She said immediately before the vote, “I’d like to take this chance. My heart and my work has been in it and I don’t want to back down. I might go to jail.”
Voters concerned about election fraud are increasing the pressure on public officials to take additional steps during elections this year to provide additional security, including counting ballots by hand instead of using electronic voting machines for tabulation. Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jim O’Connor sent all Arizona county election officials and sheriffs a letter on August 30 urging the change, and now grassroots organizations are following up with their own campaign.
Arizona legislators are busy dropping bills to address election fraud this session, due to concerns there was massive fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Rep. John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction) is sponsoring one of the most sweeping bills, HB 2596, which makes substantial changes to elections including giving the Arizona Legislature the final say on approving elections, eliminating most voting by mail, and requiring hand counting of ballots.
Fillmore explained the need for the significant reform during a committee hearing. “I don’t care what the press says,” he said. “I don’t trust ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox or anybody out there. Everybody’s lying to me and I feel like I have a couple hundred ex-wives hanging around me. This is not a President Biden thing. This is not a the other red-headed guy thing. We should have voting in my opinion in person, one day, on paper, with no electronic means and hand counting that day. We need to get back to 1958-style voting.”