Republicans opening the door to chaos and delays by requiring hand-counted votes
In this file photo, a Gwinnett County election worker looks over absentee and provisional ballots at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections office on Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. - Jessica McGowan/Getty Images North America/TNS

Local officials who have been fed on former President Donald Trump's election lies are trying to ban voting machines -- which could open the door to confusion and delays.

So far, most of those efforts have been stopped at the state level, but election experts warn that hand-counting requirements would be "wildly impractical" in jurisdictions with millions of voters and open the door to subversion, reported CNN.

"[It would] take election administration back to the horse and buggy era," said Victoria Bassetti, a senior adviser to the nonpartisan States United Democracy Center. "[It is] dangerous for democracy and driven by senseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election."

Trump declared premature victory in 2020, as mail-in ballots were still being counted, and he urged his political ally Mehmet Oz to do the same in his GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania, and experts warn that confidence in election results would be undermined by lengthy delays in counting.

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"[Delays could] empower partisan actors to say, 'We can't know who the winner is, so I declare this person the winner,'" said Rachel Homer, counsel at the voting rights group Protect Democracy.

Mark Finchem and Kari Lake, two Trump-endorsed candidates in Arizona, have filed a lawsuit calling for voting machines to be banned in November's election unless the system is opened up to the public and "subjected to scientific analysis" for possible manipulation, but election officials say hand-counting is "soul-crushing" work that increases the chances of human error.

"[It would take] two weeks, maybe going into three [to get results]," said Boots Campbell, the clerk and recorder for Rio Blanco County in Colorado, where commissioners voted to stop paying annual licensing and maintenance fees on county-owned Dominion machines. "And then can you trust a hand count? I don't think so."