Today, Accountable.US announced the launch of the Accountable States Project, which will work to expose and hold accountable groups and individuals that are chipping away at American democracy at the state level. In making the announcement, the group released a startling new analysis revealing how Arizona county supervisors’ workplace behavior and fixation on baseless election conspiracies could force their localities to sacrifice actual taxpayer priorities like public safety and essential infrastructure projects.

These county supervisors are part of a disturbing, fiscally irresponsible trend of local Arizona officials prioritizing unfounded election conspiracies over the actual needs of the families they represent. Every tax dollar wasted pushing the stolen election lie or paying legal fees associated with the workplace behavior of conspiracy-pushing county supervisors, is a tax dollar that cannot fund repairs to local roads, hiring additional law enforcement officers, or other critical community needs.”

Caroline Ciccone, president of Accountable.US

Arizonans deserve better,” said Alex Gulotta, Arizona State Director at All Voting Is Local Action. “We have clear examples of public servants who work for the people, but there are those who would rather put their own interest first, at the expense of Arizonans. The interests of the people are more important than bad actors who waste taxpayers’ time and money in court battles over conspiracies.” 

At the center of county supervisor-driven election schemes in Arizona is an effort to move toward hand-counting all ballots in place of using ballot tabulation machines, an effort pushed by conservatives and elections conspiracy theorists across the country, which has proven wildly expensive, inaccurate, and happens to be illegal in Arizona.


According to the Accountable States Project analysis:

  • Cochise County: The county’s 2023 budget had a $755,000 decrease, then infrastructure and maintenance projects totaling at least $170,000 went unfunded for fiscal year 2024, while recent election-related lawsuits racked up $175,000 in costs for the county.

    Election scheme-pushing County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and settlements with at least $300,000 on one case — $170,000 for fees in a toxic work environment case and $130,000 paid by the county’s insurance.

    County Recorder David Stevens worked with County Supervisors to support a push for hand-counting election results and developing ballot paper with fraud countermeasures.


  • Pinal County: In 2023, an audit found that the county’s financial reporting was “inadequate,” revealing “multiple deficiencies” in its FY2022 financial information, warning that the flaws could threaten funding from federal programs, and noting major “ongoing issues from prior years.”

    Leading election conspiracist County Supervisor Kevin Cavanaugh alone cost the county $145,000 in legal defense costs. Meanwhile, the county could hire two experienced deputy sheriffs and cover their annual salaries for less than Cavanaugh’s legal fees.

    Despite Pinal County’s elections being “plagued with problems that hand-counting ballots [would] not solve,” Cavanaugh pushed for hand-counting all 2024 ballots but later acknowledged he’s not an elections expert.

    County Supervisor Jeff Serdy supported a trial hand-count of ballots to “see how it would go” after “months of requests from residents who want the county to hand-count ballots” due to false election fraud claims.


  • Hand-counts prove costly, inaccurate, and illegal in Arizona. Pinal and Cochise officials need only look to Mohave County to understand the costs and risks they pose. The Board of Supervisors in Mohave ultimately rejected a proposal to hand-count ballots after finding the exercise would cost over $1 million, which exceeds the County’s budget to run the whole election for the entire year.

    Additionally, elections experts oppose hand-counting ballots as “it takes longer than counting with machines, it’s less reliable, and it’s a logistical nightmare for U.S. elections.” The Arizona State Court of Appeals ruled in October 2023 that Arizona counties are prohibited from conducting full hand-counts in elections.

Accountable States Project is an initiative of Accountable.US, a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 organization working to create an economy that works for everyone, a democracy that functions, and a sustainable environment for future generations.

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