Arizona AG opens inquiry into Maricopa County election irregularities, possible legal violations

Election integrity unit demands evidence, full report before midterm results certified.

Updated: November 21, 2022 - 3:10am

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The Arizona attorney general’s office has opened an inquiry into Maricopa County’s handling of the mid-term elections, demanding a full report of well-publicized irregularities and warning there is evidence of “statutory violations.”

The letter from Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s election integrity unit marks a major escalation in the dispute over how voters were treated on Election Day in the state’s largest county, where scores of ballot tabulators had problems because of printing problems.

The problems have delayed the declaration of a winner in the razor-thin state attorney general’s race and led GOP gubernatorial candidate KariLake to question as premature the media’s declaration that her opponent, Democrat Katie Hobbs, won that race. 

The letter sent late Saturday from Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright to the county’s chief civil division attorney, Thomas Liddy, demanded a full report on how the tabulator and printer issues were handled as well a copy of each voting location's Official Ballot Report, including any discrepancies and explanations. 

Wright demanded the evidence be turned over prior to the county sending its final canvas certification of the vote, which is due by Nov. 28.
 
“These complaints go beyond pure speculation, but include first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa’s lawful compliance with Arizona election law,” she wrote. “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.”
 
You can read the full letter here:
 
The letter specifically cites possible legal violations related to improper instructions that poll workers gave voters whose ballot tabulations were delayed by the problems.
“Maricopa County appears to have failed to adhere to the statutory guidelines in segregating, counting, tabulating, tallying, and transporting the ‘Door 3’ ballots,” Wright wrote. “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.
 
“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,” she added.

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