Last Updated on November 10, 2022
Election officials in Maricopa County released an update on the “printer issue” that caused multiple vote tabulators to malfunction on Election Day. One poll worker in the state’s largest county said that “nothing was working” and that voters should submit their ballots to be “counted downtown later tonight.” In total, the issue affected roughly 17,000 ballots, authorities said.
On Election Day, officials announced that about 20% of tabulators at county polling sites were malfunctioning. “We have two tabulators. One of the tabulators is not working, OK? The other tabulator is taking about 75 percent successful,” a poll worker told a lengthy line of voters early Tuesday morning. “So 25 percent of them are being misread, and it could be a printer issue, and it could be a tabulator itself.”
“So when it’s misread, you have an option to put it into what’s called box three, and it gets read. Whether it goes downtown and gets read manually, or whether re-fed into our tabulator, they get read, OK? the poll worker explained. “No, we don’t wanna adjudicate,” one voter could be heard saying.
“So no one is trying to deceive anybody the poll worker said, prompting groans from the crowd. “I don’t trust going in the box, they never make it down there,” one woman said. “I’ll come back.”
Poll worker in Maricopa County confirms "nothing's working" for the last half hour. Explains misread ballots will get counted downtown tonight. pic.twitter.com/DO6BxhV7Vq
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) November 8, 2022
Later that day, the Maricopa County Elections Command Center said in a statement that “printer settings” were responsible for the issues. In a joint statement on Wednesday, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman released more details on the issue, saying that the scanners in question were successfully used during the 2022 primary cycle.
“The printer settings for the Ballot-On-Demand printers at Vote Centers were the same ones we used in the August Primary,” reads the statement. “The paper was the same thickness. Prior to the General Election, the Elections Department test-printed and test-tabulated hundreds of ballots without issue.”
In total, the issue impacted “less than 7 percent of Election Day voters” or “about 17,000 ballots” that were processed through the tabulators, Maricopa County election officials said.
The statement went on to note that voters were still able to vote at affected locations, although those ballots were placed in a separate box. “The good news is election administration has built-in redundancies—backup plans when things don’t go as planned. This enables all valid votes to count even if technology, on occasion, fails,” Gates said.
“Voters impacted by the printer issue had several ways to cast their ballot yesterday, including dropping their completed ballot into a secure box (door 3) on-site. Those ballots will be verified as legitimate and then tabulated at MCTEC. That process is already underway,” the statement added.
The campaigns for Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) sued Maricopa County over the widespread issues at polling places.
An emergency motion to extend voting hours filed by the RNC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, former state lawmaker Jill Norgaard, as well as Masters and Lake, was rejected on Tuesday by an Arizona judge, who stated that “the court does not have evidence there was a voter who was precluded the right to vote.”
As of Thursday morning, the state’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races, as well as other key statewide contests, remain too close to call. The slow process has prompted criticism from Republicans and election integrity watchdogs.