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Tipsheet

Arizona Attorney General: Maricopa County Broke the Law on Election Day

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is demanding answers from Maricopa County election officials after a number of voters were unable to cast their ballots on election day. Maricopa is the state's largest county and 25 percent of vote tabulation machines were not working on November 8, causing widespread voter disenfranchisement. According to the county, 70 voting locations were impacted. 

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"The Elections Integrity Unit ('Unit') of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office ('AGO') 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 over the weekend. 

"According to Maricopa County, at least 60 voting locations had issues related to some ballot-on-demand (BOD) printers having printer configuration settings that were non-uniform, which appeared to have resulted in ballots that were unable to be read by on-site ballot tabulators," he continued. "Based on sworn complaints submitted by election workers employed by Maricopa County, the BOD printers were tested on Monday, November 7 without any apparent problems. Many of those election workers report that despite the successful testing the night before, the tabulators began experiencing problems reading ballots printed by the BOD printers within the first thirty minutes of voting on Tuesday, November 8, 2022."

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The facts detailed by Brnovich were admitted by Maricopa officials. 

Maricopa officials maintain they properly handled ballots that could not be tabulated due to broken machines and printer problems by putting them in a lockbox known as "Door 3." Those ballots ended up being mixed with previously counted ballots, making it impossible to know which votes were not tabulated. 

"Due to the widespread problems in non-uniform printer configuration settings, many voters were unable to tabulate their ballots on Election Day using on-site tabulators. Instead, voters were instructed to deposit their ballot in 'Door 3.' According to statements by Chairman Gates, Recorder Richer, and Maricopa County official communications, 'Door 3' ballots were transported to Maricopa County Tabulation and Center to be tabulated by the HiPro 821 or Cannon G1130 tabulators at central count," the letter details. 

"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," the letter continues. "Further, we have received a sworn complaint from an election observer indicating that more than 1700 'Door 3' non-tabulated ballots from one voting location were placed in black duffle bags that were intended to be used for tabulated ballots." 

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The issues detailed by Brnovich could inhibit the ability to lawfully certify the 2022 midterm election results. 

"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," he explains. "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 November 28, 2022."

Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has been featuring stories of voter disenfranchisement on her Twitter page for a week. 

The Arizona Republican Party has officially accused the county of voter disenfranchisement. 

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