Maricopa County officials say they have fix for ballot tabulator issues
PHOENIX – Officials say printer settings were to blame for ballot tabulator issues that impacted voters at more than a quarter of Maricopa County’s vote centers on Election Day.
“It appears that some of our printers were not producing dark enough timing marks on the ballot, and we’ve been able to implement this solution already at about 17 of the locations,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show just after 2 p.m. Tuesday, eight hours after the polls opened.
The announcement came about two hours after Gates told KTAR News that voters at around 60 of the county’s 223 vote center had experienced issues with the ballot-counting machines.
The problem was that some tabulators weren’t able to successfully process every completed ballot. Technicians figured out that changing the printer settings resolved the issue and have been working to make the fixes at all the impacted vote centers.
“It’s not a situation where they’re not working at all, where the tabulation machines are down. … It’s intermittent that the issue is happening,” Gates said earlier in the day.
Officials say the problems didn’t prevent anybody from casting their ballot and all the votes cast Tuesday will be tallied by the end of Election Day operations. The county has no plans to extend voting hours unless a court orders it.
“Everyone who’s shown up today at a polling place with a valid ID has had the opportunity to vote, period, and their vote is counting,” Gates said.
Voters who ran into problems were able to check out of the vote center and try another location or put their completed ballot into a secure box to be tallied later at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center.
“The only issue that we have had, and it has been an inconvenience for folks, is that at some of these vote locations people have been trying to put that ballot into the tabulator, the tabulator has not accepted it,” Gates told Gaydos and Chad.
There are no precincts in Maricopa County, so registered voters can cast their ballot at any Valley vote center until the polls close at 7 p.m. Locations and wait times can be found at Locations.Maricopa.Vote.
“All ballots are still ultimately tabulated,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday morning, when the problems were first reported. “It will be tabulated … just like an early ballot is tabulated at our central facility and just like the majority of other counties in Arizona do, where they central count tabulate everything.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.