Authorities in Maricopa County, Arizona, have addressed a widespread problem that occurred with tabulation equipment on Election Day at dozens of polling sites across the county.
On Tuesday, election officials in the county said that tabulators in roughly 20 percent of polling sites were malfunctioning. Later in the day, the Maricopa County Elections Command Center said in a statement that “printer settings” were the cause.
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 the ballot-on-demand printers were used previously and had correctly operated during the 2022 primaries in August.
“The printer settings for the Ballot-On-Demand printers at Vote Centers were the same ones we used in the August Primary,” the chair’s statement reads. “The paper was the same thickness. Prior to the General Election, the Elections Department test-printed and test-tabulated hundreds of ballots without issue.”
The issue impacted “less than 7 percent of Election Day voters”—or “about 17,000 ballots”—that were dropped into secure slots at the tabulators, the statement noted.
It also added that officials are committed to fully investigating the incident and digging into “the root cause of what happened” so similar problems can be avoided in the future.
Despite a widespread issue with tabulation equipment in Arizona’s most populous county, voters were still able to vote at locations with defective machines, although the ballots would be 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,” according to the chair’s latest update.
“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,” they added. “Those ballots will be verified as legitimate and then tabulated at MCTEC. That process is already underway.”
MESSAGE FROM BOS: To impacted voters, we recognize this isn’t how you pictured Election Day & we apologize for that inconvenience. We are committed to counting all legal votes and then finding the root cause of what happened so that it does not happen again. pic.twitter.com/lxcYN3PvQD— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) November 10, 2022