Region & State

Ditch voting machines? Group pitches hand-count elections to Ark. counties

By HUNTER FIELD | Arkansas Advocate

An Arkansas group with connections to former President Donald Trump is traveling the state with a pitch to county quorum courts: ditch the voting machines. 

Instead, the Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative urges counties to rely on paper ballots marked and counted by hand. 

The group had existed in relative obscurity since it was formed last year by Conrad Reynolds, a retired Army colonel who twice lost in the Republican primary for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District seat to U.S. Rep. French Hill. But last month, it convinced the first county, Cleburne County, to switch to hand-marked and counted ballots.

Now, some of the most conservative members of the Arkansas Legislature appear to have taken notice, filing a bill to require counties that opt to hand-count ballots to pay for it themselves and first run the ballots through a tabulation device.

Election workers handle ballots as part of the recount for the 2020 presidential election in Lawrenceville, Georgia. | Megan Varner/Getty Images

The Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative is part of the movement spawned out of Trump’s efforts to cast doubts on the integrity of U.S. elections since his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

While Reynolds couldn’t be reached for comment for this story, just last week he posted photos on social media from Mar-a-Lago with Kari Lake, who has unsuccessfully challenged the results of last year’s Arizona gubernatorial election;  Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO who has become a leader in the movement to cast doubt on election integrity; and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

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2 replies »

  1. Much easier to stuff a ballot box when the box is an actual box filled with paper ballots. It’s no wonder the Republicans are pushing for this. There’s no way to third party verify that the box itself isn’t rigged to swap votes, and it’s much easier to “misplace” a box from certain districts that way, as well.

  2. Republicans can’t accept that Dominion voting machines were not rigged so they just want to away with them with no evidence