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Mayes warns counties against GOP-led efforts to count ballots by hand

In a letter to all 15 Arizona counties, Attorney General Kris Mayes told county officials they have no authority under state law to count ballots by hand in future elections.

The timing of the letter is no coincidence.

Republican Sens. Sonny Borrelli and Wendy Rogers have recently traveled to multiple counties in an effort to convince local supervisors to count ballots by hand, rather than by machine.

They last stopped in Pinal County, a day after supervisors in Mohave County rejected a plan to conduct a manual ballot count.

Borrelli and Rogers cite a nonbinding legislative resolution, which Borrelli mailed to all Arizona counties back in May, as evidence supervisors have authority to order hand counts of the 2024 election.

But the resolution gives no such authority and does not trump state law that Mayes argues in her letter requires counties to use ballot tabulation equipment to tally votes.

“Resolution 1037 is merely a resolution, not a bill, and it was not presented to or signed by the Governor,” Mayes wrote. “Accordingly, it is not binding authority on your county and has no force of law.”

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.