Arizona AG’s Office asks Maricopa County for answers about voting issues

Nov 21, 2022, 9:50 AM
Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, right, speaks about Election Day ballot tabulati...
Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, right, speaks about Election Day ballot tabulation malfunctions on Nov. 8, 2022, at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is asking Maricopa County officials to explain the issues they had with in-person voting during the Nov. 8 election.

In a letter sent to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on Saturday, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright said the AG’s Elections Integrity Unit (EIU) has received “hundreds of complaints since Election Day” about in-person voting in the state’s largest county.

“These complaints go beyond pure speculation, but include first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa’s lawful compliance with Arizona election law,” the letter says.

With statutory deadlines approaching, Wright gave the county a little bit over a week to respond to the inquiry.

“As the canvass is looming, and these issues relate to Maricopa County’s ability to lawfully certify election results – the Unit requests a response to the aforementioned issues on or before Maricopa County submits its official canvass to the Secretary of State, which must occur on or before Nov. 28, 2022,” the letter says.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News on Monday that a response to the letter would be made by the requested date.

“We’re reviewing this with our attorneys right now and I don’t have anything further to say at this point, but we will certainly before we hold the canvass,” he said.

Gates said about 70 of the county’s 223 vote centers experienced tabulation problems on Election Day. By that afternoon, technicians figured out that toner levels were too low on some on-site printers used to produce the ballots, so the tabulators couldn’t read the votes in some cases.

Voters were told they could either leave their completed ballots in a secure container, known as Door 3 or Box 3, to be counted later at the county’s main elections center or check out and try voting at a different vote center.

“These votes were counted either way, whether they were run through the tabulator at the vote center or they’re run through the tabulator at our central count facility, which is frankly how many other counties in Arizona handle it. They don’t have tabulators on-site,” Gates said.

The EIU is seeking details about the printer problems and how widespread they were, as well as information about how poll workers were trained to check voters out if they decided to try casting a ballot at a different vote center.

The letter also asks for information about how the Door 3 ballots were transported to the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center, how many of those ballots may have been mixed with ballots that were successfully counted on-site, and how any commingling was reconciled.

“Arizonans deserve a full report and accounting of the myriad problems that occurred in relation to Maricopa County’s administration of the 2022 General Election,” the letter says.

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Arizona AG’s Office asks Maricopa County for answers about voting issues