No deadline set for completion of Maricopa County election investigation

Jan 9, 2023, 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 — A former Arizona Supreme Court chief justice wasn’t given a timetable for completing her investigation into Election Day tabulation issues in Maricopa County last year, a top county official said Monday.

On Friday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors announced that former state Chief Justice Ruth McGregor would lead a probe into why some tabulators had difficulties reading ballots at about one-third of the county’s vote centers on Nov. 8.

Board Chairman Bill Gates told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Monday that McGregor will consult with experts who “understand how systems work” as part of her independent investigation.

“She’s going to put together a team that’s going to do a great job, and they’re going to take the time that it needs to get to the bottom of it,” Gates said.

McGregor was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court by Republican Gov. Jane Dee Hull in 1998 and retired in 2009. She was chief justice from 2005 until she retired.

Gates, a Republican, said he won’t speculate about what might McGregor might uncover.

“I don’t know what she will find,” he said. “But I know that she has integrity, she has a lot of experience leading these types of investigations for the state of Arizona, Arizona State University and the Fiesta Bowl, and she’s going to follow this wherever the facts lead her.”

Tabulators had trouble reading completed ballots on Election Day at around 70 of Maricopa County’s 223 voting centers, officials have said. By that afternoon, technicians were able to fix the problem by adjusting the toner settings on the printers used to create on-demand ballots.

Voters who had issues were given the option of using a different voting location or putting their completed ballots into a secure compartment built into the tabulators. Those ballots were later collected by election workers and taken to be tallied at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center.

Gates and other county officials have said all the submitted ballots were accurately counted.

While McGregor wasn’t given a deadline to report her findings, Gates expects to have the results in time to institute procedural changes, if needed, by the 2024 election season.

“We made a point not to hold her to a hard timeline, but we know that people are watching and we know that she’s going to move as quickly as she can while still doing a thorough investigation that the voters of Maricopa County deserve,” he said.

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No deadline set for completion of Maricopa County election investigation