Judges in 2 States Block GOP Moves on Counting Ballots

Arizona's issue was hand counting, Wisconsin's was military absentee ballots
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 7, 2022 7:05 PM CST
In 2 States, Judges Deny GOP Changes on Counting Votes
Kimberly Zapata, deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, instructs workers on processing ballots in April.   (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, File)

Judges in two states on Monday blocked Republican moves to alter the way ballots in the midterm elections are counted. A ruling by a Superior Court judge rejected a rural Arizona county's plan to conduct a full hand count of ballots—a measure requested by GOP officials who expressed unfounded concerns that vote-counting machines are untrustworthy, the AP reports. Judge Casey McGinley said the Pima County board of supervisors overstepped its legal authority when it ordered the county recorder to count all the ballots cast by hand, rather than a small sample of early ballots as required by state law. A group of retirees sued to challenge the hand count of an estimated 30,000 early ballots, but the ruling appears to block a full hand count of all ballots cast in the midterms.

In Wisconsin, a judge on Monday turned down a bid requiring that military absentee ballots be pulled aside and sequestered until it can be verified that they were cast legally. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Maxwell said that would be a "drastic remedy" that could disenfranchise voters. The Republican chair of the Wisconsin Assembly's elections committee, with others, sued Friday to win a court order sequestering the ballots, per the AP. The judge also denied a request from state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, a Republican who's endorsed conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, to order the elections commission to withdraw its guidance to clerks about absentee ballots from members of the military. On average, military ballots comprise about 0.07% of all absentee ballots requested in the state, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

(Read more midterm elections stories.)

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