“Some in GOP want ballots to be counted by hand, not machines”

AP News:

Growing suspicion about the security of voting systems has kindled a back-to-the future moment among conservatives in some parts of the U.S.

Republican lawmakers in at least six states have introduced legislation that would require all election ballots to be counted by hand instead of electronic tabulators. Similar proposals have been floated within some local governments, including about a dozen New Hampshire towns and Washoe County in the presidential battleground state of Nevada.

The push for hand-counting ballots comes amid mistrust of elections among many Republicans who believe the false narrative that widespread fraud cost former President Donald Trump reelection in the 2020 presidential contest. Despite no evidence of widespread fraud or major irregularities, conspiracy theories have proliferated among his allies that voting systems were somehow manipulated to favor Democrat Joe Biden. That has prompted calls to ban electronic tabulators used to scan ballots, record votes and compile race tallies….

Counting by machine isn’t just faster. Multiple studies have shown it’s also more accurate, said Charles Stewart, professor of political science at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The first research on the topic was done almost two decades ago comparing recounts of New Hampshire races that were originally tabulated by hand to those tabulated by machines. In that study and subsequent research, the machines won, he said.

“Counting votes is very tedious. Human beings are bad doing tedious things, and computers are very good at doing tedious things,” Stewart said.

Most states also conduct post-election audits that are designed to identify any irregularities with ballot scanning and counting. But with many Republicans believing Biden was not legitimately elected, election machines have become a popular target….

In New Hampshire, that message seems to have gotten through. This past week, a state House committee unanimously recommended killing the hand-counting legislation and voters in nine towns where the question was on the ballot in local elections rejected it.

Share this: