Maricopa County Confirms 20 Percent of Voting Centers Experiencing Tabulator Issues

Chairman of the Maricopa County board of supervisors Bill Gates announced a few hours into Election Day that 20 percent of polling places in the county are experiencing problems with their tabulation machines.

“We’ve got about 20 percent of the locations out there where there’s an issue with the tabulator where some of the ballots, after people have voted, they try and run them through the tabulator and they’re not going through,” Gates said in a video message.

There are 223 voting stations across Maricopa County, meaning that at least 44 of them are experiencing tabulator glitches.

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office updated Tuesday afternoon that they have “identified a solution for the tabulation issues at our Vote Centers.”

“County technicians have changed the printer settings, which seems to have resolved this issue. It appears some of the printers were not producing dark enough timing marks on the ballots,” the office confirmed.

Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer issued a statement apologizing to voters for the confusion and inconvenience. “Every legal vote will be tabulated. I promise,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors, which oversees Election Day operations and tabulation, “has identified the problem and has begun fixing affected voting locations,” Richer added.

Earlier Tuesday, Gates told voters to use the temporary backup option of placing their ballot into a secure box that is affixed to the tabulator. Ballots placed in the box will be collected Tuesday night and counted in a secure central location, he said. Those ballots will already be, in effect, signature verified, another official in the video said, “so we won’t need to confirm identity but we will central tabulate them.”

Richer backed up Gates’ instruction to place the ballot in the secure drawer, which is “retrieved by bipartisan workers at the end of the evening and brought to our central tabulators.” He assured that this is the same methodology used for early voting and the same methodology used for Election Day voting in most counties in the state.

The Maricopa County Elections Department sent out a related notice on Tuesday, reminding residents arriving at sites with malfunctioning tabulators that they can still cast their ballots.

“Advice for Voters: If a tabulator is not working at a site, you can still vote! You have the option to cast your ballot and place it into the secure ballot box. The poll workers on site at the voting location are best equipped to help you ensure your ballot cast,” the department tweeted.

The tabulator issues are likely to feed into false Republican stolen-election narratives, given that the Arizona Republican party has embraced President Trump’s stolen election allegation with more fervor than any other state party. In the wake of the 2020 election, Republican state legislators demanded that Attorney General Mark Brnovich conduct an audit of the process on the grounds that hundreds of ballots had been cast in the names of dead Arizonans. When Brnovich’s office conducted the probe, they discovered a single ballot cast fraudulently in the name of a dead voter.

Democrat Katie Hobbs, who is overseeing the election in her role as secretary of state, is running in the Arizona gubernatorial contest against rising Republican star Kari Lake, a former news anchor who shot to MAGA stardom by endorsing Trump’s stolen election allegation.

Charlie Kirk tweeted Tuesday, “2 hour wait minimum at most polling places in Maricopa. Democrats running elections here knew this would happen. Traffic jam by design. DON’T LET THEM DO 2020 AGAIN. WAIT IN LINE AND VOTE.”

Maricopa County corrected that the wait times at most polling centers are far lower than the TPUSA founder alleged. “No part of the tweet below is accurate. The vast majority of Vote Centers are seeing wait times under 30 minutes, and whether by tabulator or secure ballot box, all voters are being served,” the account wrote.

When a few accounts expressed skepticism that the ballot boxes at the sites with malfunctioning tabulators would be secure, and not “conveniently lost” to “benefit Democrats,” the department explained its protocol.

“Every box will be tied with tamper proof tape and transported to the Tabulation and Election Center where they will be counted. Anyone will be able to watch that process as it is streamed on our 24/7 streaming cameras,” it said.

As of early Tuesday morning, before the update from the governmental body, there were reports that certain tabulation machines in Maricopa County were not working properly. Videos posted to Twitter showed long lines of people outside waiting to vote in Anthem, Ariz., a deep red area.

“We have two tabulators. One of the tabulators is not working. The other tabulator is taking about 75 percent successful, so 25 percent of them are being misread, and it could be a printer issue, or it could be the tabulator itself,” a poll volunteer said. He repeated similar directions to the chairman’s, telling voters they have an option to put the ballot into “Box 3.”

“It gets read, whether it goes downtown or gets read manually or whether it gets re-fed into our tabulator,” he assured.

Some people in line indicated frustration with the system crashes. A few said they didn’t trust the facility to handle the chain of custody with their physical ballot. One woman at the Anthem location left in a huff, saying “I’ll come back later.”

On Tuesday, Lake directed voters who already checked in at Maricopa County voting locations where the tabulators were having issues to stay put instead of going to another location. “Your provisional ballot at the new location likely will not count,” she warned.

“If you have already checked in at a Maricopa County voting location where the tabulators do not work, you can (1) wait for your ballot to be tabulated on site, (2) ask to use the handicapped voting machine, or (3) leave your ballot in a box to be counted later,” she said.

Rich Baris, the director of a right-leaning survey research firm, noted on Twitter that election officials were told to be prepared for massive Election Day turnout, given that Maricopa and Pinal counties were overwhelmed during the primary.

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