What’s in Box 3? About 17,000 Maricopa County ballots that wouldn’t scan

Nov 9, 2022, 3:30 PM
About 17,000 Maricopa County Election Day voters placed their ballots in Box 3, the secure compartm...
About 17,000 Maricopa County Election Day voters placed their ballots in Box 3, the secure compartment on tabulators used when the machines can’t scan the votes. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – About 17,000 ballots cast at the polls Tuesday in Maricopa County were placed in Box 3, the secure compartment on tabulators used when the machines can’t scan the votes, officials said a day after dealing with Election Day glitches.

“We always have ballots that go into Box 3, we always have ballots that are not read into the tabulator, but that is a higher percentage than normal,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said during a Wednesday morning press conference.

“But again, we’re only talking about 7% of those ballots from yesterday.”

The county reported Tuesday that about 60 of its 223 vote centers experienced issues with at least one of its two ballot tabulators. By early afternoon, technicians figured out that the problem was printer settings, not the tabulators themselves.

Voters who had issues were able to check out of the vote center and try another location or put their completed ballot into the Box 3 slot on the tabulators. Those ballots were later collected by election workers and taken to be tallied at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center.

“Those will go through the quality assurance check and those will be tabulated throughout the week,” Gates said Wednesday.

A coalition of Arizona Republicans, including the state party, gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Senate hopeful Blake Masters, filed a lawsuit seeking to keep polls open three extra hours to make up for the glitches, but a judge rejected the complaint.

“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, a Republican, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show on Tuesday before the lawsuit was filed.

Gates said Wednesday that approximately 250,000 people checked in for in-person voting on Election Day.

“The lion share of those numbers have already been reported,” he said. “They were reported last night into the wee hours the morning, and we want to say a huge thanks to the team back there for all that they did.”

By the end of Election Day operations, the county had reported results from about 1.1 million voters, including early ballots submitted by Friday. About 400,000 ballots remained to be counted, including a record 275,000 early ballots dropped off at vote centers or drop boxes on Tuesday.

Now that the vote-casting is done, Maricopa County plans to release new numbers once a day, in the evening, until the tabulation process is complete.

“As I have been saying, we have anticipated that we would have 95-99% of all the ballots counted and reported by Friday. We have no reason to change that estimate. If we do, we’ll let you know,” Gates said.

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What’s in Box 3? About 17,000 Maricopa County ballots that wouldn’t scan