With the exception of the Georgia runoff election between Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and political outsider Herschel Walker next week, the 2022 election cycle has come to a close.
The end of the midterm campaign cycle wasn't without a series of mishaps, botches and downright outrageous incidents.
In Georgia's Cobb County, the winner of a Kennesaw City Council seat was flipped after a memory card used to hold votes was miraculously found and changed the outcome of the election.
"Madelyn Orochena announced her win on social media for the Kennesaw City Council Special Post 1 seat after she said the results were in. However, after a memory card was discovered Wednesday, ahead of the statewide audit, the results have changed with the projected winner to be Lynette Burnette," local news outlet Alive 11 reported. "Cobb Election officials said the memory card was found in the Kennesaw area while election workers were preparing for Thursday's risk-limiting audit. The results attributed to the card have since been sent to the Secretary of State's Office, election leaders said. Cobb County election officials said the results listed on the Secretary of State's election page now reflect the accurate results."
But a lost and found memory card in Georgia is nothing compared to what happened in Maricopa County, Arizona, where mass numbers of voters were disenfranchised on Election Day when voting machines at dozens of locations, at least 70, stopped working for hours. Maricopa is the state's largest county and represents 60 percent of registered voters.
This wasn't a conspiracy theory or speculation. It was admitted and reported by Maricopa Election officials.
"We've got about 20 percent of the locations out there where there's an issue with the tabulators where some of the ballots, after people have voted them, they try and run them through the tabulator and they're not going through," Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said, later attributing the problem to a printer setting error after an investigation.
"Nothing is working," a frustrated poll worker explained.
Voters were encouraged to put their ballots into a "Door 3" lock box if their tabulator was broken. They were told their vote would be taken to the main county center and tabulated at a later time. Hundreds of Arizonans recorded testimony about not being able to cast their votes and detailed problems at the polls.
The widespread dysfunction and disenfranchisement didn't go unnoticed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who explained violations of specific election guidelines were repeatedly broken.
"The Elections Integrity Unit of the Arizona Attorney General's Office has received hundreds of complaints since Election Day pertaining to issues related to the administration of the 2022 General Election in Maricopa 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. Furthermore, statements made by both Chairman Gates and Recorder Richer, along with information Maricopa County released through official modes of communication appear to confirm potential statutory violations of title 16," Brnovich wrote in a letter to Maricopa County Civil Division Chief Thomas Liddy.
"Maricopa County appears to have failed to adhere to the statutory guidelines in segregating, counting, tabulating, tallying, and transporting the 'Door 3' ballots. In fact, Maricopa County has admitted that. in some voting locations, 'Door 3' non-tabulated ballots were commingled with tabulated ballots at the voting location," he continued.
And yet, the election was certified anyway, handing a loss to Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — whose voters showed up on Election Day — and a victory to Democrat Katie Hobbs — whose voters mostly cast their ballots early. Hobbs is also the secretary of state and refused to recuse herself from overseeing her own election.
Election integrity is crucial to a functioning democracy, and yet, the so-called "defenders of democracy" are silent on the outrageous disenfranchisement of Arizona voters. Election officials and democratic attorneys claim the results were valid and legal, despite a long list of clear violations. For thousands in Arizona, trust in the process has been completely lost, and it seems Democrats – content with their victory – have no intention of gaining it back.