Live blog: Some Maricopa County voters face technical issues, long waits on Election Day
PHOENIX – Arizona voters rolled to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots in the state’s midterm general election, deciding on a long list of representation, state officials and measures.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Besides races for governor, U.S. Senate and House and statewide offices such as secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction and treasurer, legislative candidates and justices and judges up for retention, there are 10 propositions on the ballot.
“This ballot is like an epic poem in and of itself. It has 75-plus contests. It’s been taking the average voter 15, 20, 25 minutes to fill it out,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Monday.
Anyone standing in line at 7 p.m. when polls officially close will be allowed to vote, he said.
In Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, the elections department will begin posting unofficial results at Results.Maricopa.Vote at 8 p.m. and will update through the night.
Starting Wednesday, “late early” ballots that weren’t received in time to be counted before Election Day will be scanned and signature-verified before being fed into tabulators.
Early results showed several statewide Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, with leads.
Full election results are available online.
The Republican National Committee sued Maricopa County, asking for a three-hour extension for polling centers because of issues with ballot tabulators.
The county has no plans to extend voting hours unless ordered by a court to do so.
Stephen Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM Gaydos and Chad Show that tabulator issues have been resolved at “almost all of the voting centers.”
At least 49 of the polling centers with issues have been fixed.
Following hours of ballot tabulator issues, officials said printer settings were to blame.
Technicians are working to resolve the issue by changing the printer settings at impacted vote centers. The issue wasn’t allowing some tabulators to successfully process all ballots.
The problem didn’t prevent voters from casting their ballot, officials said.
The number of vote centers in Maricopa County affected by tabulator issues has reached 60, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates said at press conference.
A few hours earlier, there were 40 centers having technical issues.
“At this point, we’re not sure what’s causing that,” Gates said.
Burton Barr Library in central Phoenix reported problems shortly after polls opened.
Many voters around the Valley are waiting in long lines to cast their ballots.
At Mesa Community College Red Mountain, the wait time was 68 minutes, while Cave Creek Town Hall showed 60 minutes, according to the county’s voting locations list.
As promised, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone dispatched deputies and detention officers to various polling sites while others are patrolling the grounds at the elections department in downtown Phoenix.
“There will be a lot more deputies tucked away in case we need to respond [to a situation],” Penzone told The Mike Broomhead Show.
“We don’t want to treat this like it’s a military site but we want to make sure that we’re protecting it … like Fort Knox. Every vote is a piece of gold and we’re going to treat it that way and protect the people inside and protect the vote itself,” he said.
Gates said at a press conference about 40 vote centers – close to 20% of the 223 sites – are having technical problems with tabulation machines.
Richer told Broomhead that at least 10% of the county’s voting locations have at least one tabulation down.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates offered advice to voters having problems casting their ballots:
If you’re at a polling place experiencing an issue with a tabulator, you have three options & your vote will be counted in each. 1) stay where you are and wait for tabulator to come online 2) drop your ballot in the secure slot (door 3) on tabulator 3) go to a nearby vote center
— Bill Gates (@billgatesaz) November 8, 2022
Technical issues at Burton Barr Library in central Phoenix have been resolved, election officials said. Tabulation machines went down as soon as voting began, delaying in-person voting.
Brad from Phoenix didn’t have any trouble, he told KTAR News. He dropped off his ballot and was on his way quickly.
Poll workers at Burton Barr Library entered a password incorrectly and were locked out of tabulating machines but a technician was on the way to resolve the problem. In-person voters were eventually allowed to fill out ballots. The elections office said those ballots would be stored in a safe place until they can be put through the tabulators after polls close.
In-person voters who showed up at Burton Barr Library were directed elsewhere after issues with tabulation machines surfaced.
Voters dropping off early ballots were not affected by the malfunctioning machines.
Security was tight at elections department headquarters in downtown Phoenix.
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies, concrete barriers and fencing were in place as a precaution against a repeat of 2020 protests and other disruptions.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross, Griselda Zetino, Taylor Kinnerup and Kate Ourada contributed to this report.