The Pima County Board of Supervisors denied a request from its Election Integrity Commission to sort early ballots by precinct for a special hand audit for this election.

The board spent about an hour listening to commissioners and activists describe the need for an improved ballot-counting process.

Pima County is the only county in the state that doesn’t sort ballots by precinct, said commissioner Michael Duniho.

“Resisting improvement in vote count auditing has earned Pima County a reputation for suspect elections,” he told the board.

In a unanimous vote, the supervisors denied the request for an audit.

The supervisors did support the commission’s requests to look at ways to improve the process and to ask the Arizona Secretary of State to OK a pilot project that would use graphical scanners to audit vote tallies.

If Secretary Ken Bennett approves the project, a request for proposals would be issued and the scanners could be used next year.

“I think we all probably agree it’s too late for this election cycle,” said Supervisor Ann Day, “but as Pima County moves forward with trying to ensure the integrity of future elections, we have to keep in mind that the Secretary of State is calling for a complete overhaul of the election system after the voting problems that occurred.”

New guidelines from Bennett could make today’s decisions moot, she warned.

The Board of Supervisors plans to canvass the election results on Monday.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.