Arizona’s Maricopa County was a center of controversy during the 2020 election and aftermath, and the county has reprised that role for the 2022 midterm elections following widespread issues with voting machines.
Reports of voting machine tabulator malfunctions in the county began almost as soon as polls opened Tuesday morning, prompting concerns from Republican officials that some voters were unable to successfully cast their ballot or trust that it would be properly scanned and counted, the Daily Wire reported.
Voting machine malfunctions
Initially, it seemed that there were only isolated problems at just a handful of polling locations as “tabulator malfunctions” caused ballots to be rejected.
That problem grew over the course of the morning, however, and AZ Central reported Tuesday afternoon that around 60 polling locations, or about 30 percent of all polling locations in the county, had been impacted by the issue that caused lines to stack up and ballots to not be scanned.
It was eventually determined by county election officials that the problem stemmed from printed ballots that were improperly formatted and therefore unreadable by the scanner machines.
Voters were advised to either wait an indeterminate amount of time for the machines to be fixed, to “spoil” their ballot and go vote at a different location with properly working machines, or to place their ballots in a secure box labeled “Box 3” and trust that the ballots would be properly scanned and counted at a central location later in the evening.
Distrust and lawsuits
Signaling the distrust many Americans now have for how election workers handle things behind the scenes, the Daily Wire noted that some top Republican officials in the county and state, such as Arizona GOP chairwoman Dr. Kelli Ward, urged voters to stay and wait to scan their ballots themselves or go to another location to cast their vote rather than use the “Box 3” containers.
That suggestion was also shared by Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Senate candidate Blake Masters with their supporters.
Meanwhile, as Election Day drew near an end, the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the Lake and Masters campaigns jointly filed a complaint in Maricopa County Superior Court to request an extension for polls in the county to remain open longer and for a delay to the initial report on early vote totals, according to Breitbart.
Unfortunately, that request was rejected by a judge, even as it was clear that there had been significant issues that had greatly inconvenienced, if not actually disenfranchised, a sizeable number of voters.
Still too close to call
AZ Central further reported that, as of Wednesday afternoon, a number of major races in Arizona had yet to be called, including the governor and Senate races.
The last early morning “drop” of counted ballots showed that both Lake and Masters trailed their Democratic opponents — Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), respectively — but had gained some ground in the tight and competitive races.