Maricopa County releases data on Election Day issues

Arizona’s Maricopa County on Sunday released new data about malfunctions at some of its vote centers on Election Day, pushing back on claims that voters were disenfranchised because of the issues.

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs, and others in the GOP have seized on printer malfunctions in the county on Election Day, claiming the problems substantially altered results — despite Maricopa election officials’ insistence that no one was prevented from voting.

In a response to a letter from the Arizona attorney general’s office demanding further information on the issue, county officials on Sunday provided the most detailed data to date, showing that thousands of affected voters still cast ballots that were tabulated.

“Our response is available for the public to read in its entirety and details how Maricopa County followed state and federal laws to ensure every voter was provided the opportunity to cast a ballot,” Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates (R) said in a statement.

Gates vowed to certify Maricopa’s vote canvass by Monday’s statutory deadline, defying the Lake campaign, who has publicly called for a delay and suggested in court the issues meet the legal threshold for doing so. 

Meanwhile, Arizona Republican attorney general candidate Abraham Hamadeh formally contested his election result last week over the issues. Hamadeh trails his Democratic rival by 510 votes ahead of an expected recount.

The Hill has reached out to Lake campaign and Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s (R) office for comment.

The criticisms are rooted in malfunctions with printers at some of Maricopa’s vote centers, which printed ballots too light for tabulators to read. 

The county on Sunday said it confirmed the malfunctions occurred at 43 of the county’s 223 vote centers, although it indicated the number may be as high as 63. The Lake campaign, based on sworn declarations, had alleged in court the figure was at least 118.

Election officials have insisted affected voters could wait in line until the issue was solved, cast a ballot at another vote center or deposit their ballot in a separate box for tabulation later, known as “door 3.”  Lake’s campaign has alleged some voters who pursued each of those options experienced issues.

Lake has claimed the malfunctions created long lines at vote centers that effectively disenfranchised voters.

But the county’s response indicates a majority of vote centers had a peak wait time of 15 minutes or less, and wait times at 207 of the county’s 223 polling locations never exceeded an hour.

Lake and others in the GOP have also alleged that poll workers did not properly check out some affected voters who went to cast a ballot at a different vote center, meaning it would appear as if they were fraudulently casting a second ballot and result in it not being counted.

County officials on Sunday indicated 206 residents tried to vote at a second location, and 122 of them were not properly checked out. Poll workers gave those voters provisional ballots, and election officials ultimately decided all but 13 of them should count.

“Voters commonly ask to spoil their ballots and poll workers are very familiar with the process of issuing them a new ballot,” the county wrote, indicating it covered check-out procedures in poll worker training.

Arizona GOP figures have also cast doubt that votes placed in door 3 were ultimately counted, posting videos from voters who expressed concern about the backup procedure.

The county on Sunday said it audited the difference between the number of voters who checked in at each vote center and the number of ballots counted at each location, finding a difference of 170 votes countywide.

“Variances between check-ins and ballots received are not uncommon,” the county said in its response, due to occasional voters who check in at a polling place but leaves before casting a ballot.

Tags 2022 midterms Arizona Bill Gates maricopa county
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