Maricopa County Board of Supervisors responds to AG’s office about voting issues

Nov 27, 2022, 6:03 PM | Updated: 6:08 pm
A voter casts his ballot at a drop box on Nov. 8, 2022, in Mesa, Arizona. After months of candidate...
A voter casts his ballot at a drop box on Nov. 8, 2022, in Mesa, Arizona. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Sunday responded to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office about issues it had with in-person voting during the Nov. 8 election.

In a letter sent to the Arizona assistant attorney general Jennifer Wright, who heads the Elections Integrity Unit, the board defended its execution of collecting ballots when some couldn’t otherwise be read due to tabulation problems.

A letter from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office argued that widespread problems forced some voters to submit their ballots in “Door 3” and not the on-site tabulators, but the board said the method didn’t violate any laws.

The letter states that all voters who experienced tabulator issues were given other legal options to do so, citing eight other Arizona counties that cast their vote in a ballot box similar to Door 3. It also mentions there are no laws requiring ballots be tabulated with using precinct-based tabulators.

“Coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m grateful for County staff who worked with great care and resolve to answer questions from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office about the November General Election. The AG’s Office sent their letter with urgency and we responded with urgency,” Board Chairman Bill Gates said in a statement.

“Our response is available for the public to read in its entirety and details how Maricopa County followed the state and federal laws to ensure every voter was provided the opportunity to cast a ballot.”

The board also addressed the concern of election uniformity, as the attorney general’s office said it received “hundreds of complaints since Election Day” about in-person voting in the state’s largest county.

Though there were unexpected printing issues at 31% of voting centers, less than 1% of ballots cast were affected by these issues, the letter said.

It cited from a previous case that “(a) flawless election process is not a legal entitlement under any statute, elections procedures manual rule, or authority identified by the parties or otherwise known to court.”

The letter also stated that any voter who left a center without checking out and went to another vote center, consistent with Arizona law, would be allowed to vote.

It explained that the site book would show a voter checked in, but that the county would research whether a voter had already been cast to determine whether there was evidence the person did vote. If evidence was found, the provisional ballot envelope would not be opened.

Gates added that more information would be released in the coming days to the attorney general and other interested parties, as three business days to provide the requested information in the Nov. 19 letter was not “a reasonable amount of time to respond prior to the canvass of the election,” the statement said.

“We will also respond to those who have made public records requests of the county. Most importantly, we will fulfill our statutory responsibility to canvass this election on Monday,” Gates said.

The board will canvass the election Monday at 9:30 a.m., which can be viewed online.

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Maricopa County Board of Supervisors responds to AG’s office about voting issues