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AZ tries last-minute auditing of voting machines

Sec. of state says there isn't enough time, political opponents say administration 'in bed' with manufacturers.
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Written by Richard Koman on

Another state struggles to put some last-minute controls on electronic voting machines. Just days before the Sept. 12 primary, Arizona passed a law requiring hand-count verification of a certain number of electronic machines, the Arizona Capitol Times reports, but the Republican secretary of state says there may not be enough time to implement the rules before the election.

Asked whether the state will be ready to go under the new law for the primary, [Jan] Brewer had several responses. “Probably not — we probably won’t,” she said, but added, “I don’t have any idea.” Pressed later with the question, she said, “It’s a possibility. There’s time enough if everybody moves really, really quick…”

Time is not on Arizona's side since election changes must be approved by the Justice Dept., as part of a decades-old settlment of the state's violation of the 1964 Voting Rights Act. j

[She] says the Justice Department has 60 days to act, but if there are questions about the law, it could take 120 days for approval. “I can’t predict what Justice will do,” she said.

Uh huh, say proponents of the law. Brewer and other elections officials have zero interest in implementing the law, they claim.

Ernest Hancock, the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state, has predicted the new law would not take effect. “They don’t want it,” he said. Mr. Hancock and Sen. Karen Johnson, R-18, sponsor of the bill, claim elections officials across the country are under the thumb of voting machine manufacturers, such as Diebold Elections Systems. “There are enormous powers that have made it very clear that they do not want a manual account of the computer because it validates either that it’s accurate or inaccurate,” Mr. Hancock said. “If it’s inaccurate, they would not want that. You’re talking billions of dollars here.”

The law requires a voter-verified paper document to be used for hand-counts and recounts. The manual counts must be done in at least four contested races — one federal, one statewide, one ballot measure and one legislative contest — and in 2 percent of precincts or on 2 percent of the vote in each county.

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