By Allen Stein
The Arizona Attorney General’s Elections Integrity Unit sent a letter to Maricopa County demanding answers on problems that took place with the election on Nov. 8.
In a letter to Civil Division Chief Thomas Liddy of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright said the AG’s office had “received hundreds of complaints since Election Day,” and the complaints “go beyond pure speculation [and] include first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa County’s lawful compliance with Arizona election law.”
According to Maricopa County election officials, at least 60 of 223 voting locations experienced technical problems related to ballot-on-demand (BOD) printers having “non-uniform” printer configuration settings.
These non-uniform settings resulted in some ballots “unable to be read by on-site ballot tabulators.”
County officials estimate the technical problems may have impacted more than 17,000 ballots on Election Day.
“Based on sworn complaints submitted by election workers employed by Maricopa County, the BOD printers were tested on Monday, Nov. 7, without any apparent problems,” Wright said in the letter (pdf).
“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.”
The letter said that based on a “plethora of reports from election workers, poll watchers, and voters, including the county’s admission of widespread printer problems,” the Elections Integrity Unit requested:
- The voting locations that had problems with either BOD printers or tabulation
- The specific problems at each voting location
- Any other issues related to BOD printers and/or tabulators that may have contributed to the problems at voting locations
- A comprehensive log of all changes to the BOD printer configuration settings (to include the identity of individuals making changes)
- Maricopa County’s standards for the BOD printer configuration settings
- The precise time the non-uniform printer configuration settings were found to be the root cause of the problem
- The method used to update or reconfigure the printer configuration settings at each voting location
The Elections Integrity Unit will also look into election day “check-out” procedures in which affected voters received provisional ballots or instructions to go to another polling location.
Wright said the unit also requests a detailed report on poll worker training regarding check-out procedures and the “legal basis” for these procedures.
The unit also wants to know “why Maricopa continued to publicly encourage voters to leave a voting location after having been notified … that poll workers appeared to be improperly trained on ‘check-out’ procedures.”
“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,” Wright said in the letter.
“Instead, voters were instructed to deposit their ballot in ‘Door 3.’”
Maricopa officials have said that the ballots would be taken at the end of the day to the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center to be counted.
Wright said in the letter the county “appears to have failed to adhere to the statutory guidelines in segregating, counting, tabulating, tallying, and transporting 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.”
In sworn testimony, one poll watcher indicated that more than 1,700 Door 3 non-tabulated ballots from one voting location were “placed in black duffle bags” meant for tabulated votes.
“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,” Wright said.
Wright said the issues are related to “Maricopa County’s ability to lawfully certify election results,” and requested a response from the county by Nov. 28.