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AZ delay may scuttle election recount

Secretary of state who brought touch-screen voting to Arizona delays in submitting recount procedures to Justice Dept., and the likely result is that no recounts will occur.
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Written by Richard Koman on

Arizona is unlikely to conduct a hand count to verify its touch-screen voting because the secretary of state failed to submit recount procedures in time for federal review, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

Because of concerns about the use of electronic machine voting, the Arizona Legislature passed a law requiring a random recount of 2 percent of precincts and one county requires a 100 percent recount. The Justice Dept. approved the law last month but none of that really matters, because of the delay in submitting procedures to the department.

"We're at the mercy of the process, and that process is such that we will not be precleared in time for the election," County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said. They voted 4-1 to not do a recount unless the Justice Department gives the go-ahead by the end of the day on Wednesday. They also voted to seek their own approval from the Justice Department, independent of the state's efforts.

The supervisors laid the blame on Secretary of State Jan Brewer. "It has been her choice and her choice alone to put us in this position," Supervisor Ramon Valadez said. "Any reasonable person would expect her to get this done." Deputy Secretary of State Kevin Tyne said the secretary of state followed the appropriate process for getting the voting counting procedures approved.

It was Brewer who brought the Diebold voting machines into the state and when called anti-Diebold protesters "anarchists" and "conspiracy theorists."

So how is it that the secretary who was so involved with electronic voting couldn't get around to filing the paperwork to allow for paper audits? Some "conspiracy theorists" might see intentional incompetence.

Tyne said his office is proud of the quick turnaround, but the supervisors said Brewer should have submitted the procedures to the Justice Department at the same time she submitted the law. Tyne said the delays didn't necessarily doom the recounts. "We sent it off," he said. "We're waiting to hear. We don't have a crystal ball."

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