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Maricopa County report attributes Election Day issues to paper weight, ballot length

The report comes as former Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake continues to challenge the results of the race.

Published: April 10, 2023 6:15pm

Maricopa County investigators on Monday released their report into election irregularities during the 2022 midterm contests after the municipality suffered significant ballot-printing issues that attracted intense criticism from Republicans.

Maricopa, the state's most populous county, has become infamous as the source of election irregularities and alleged voter fraud in recent contests, most notably the 2020 presidential election and the 2022 governor's race. In the latter contest, the county's ballot printers and tabulators suffered significant issues on Election Day.

Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor led the investigators who authored the report. Their analysis identified changes in the ballot length, in combination with the paper weight, as straining some of the older printers' abilities.

Between the August primaries and the November general contest, the county expanded the length of the ballots from 19 inches to 20 inches in order to include all of the required information. The increased ballot size in combination with the use of 100-pound ballot paper, the report concludes, was too great a strain on the printers.

"Based on our tests, and for the reasons described in this report, we concluded that the combined effect of using 100-pound ballot paper and a 20- inch ballot during the 2022 general election was to require that the Oki B432 printers perform at the extreme edge of their capability, a level that could not be reliably sustained by a substantial number of printers," the report states.

The investigators, nonetheless, insisted there was little reason for election officials to foresee such a complication.

"Any failure in process or human error relates to a failure to anticipate and prepare for the printer failures experienced," they wrote. "But nothing we learned in our interviews or document reviews gave any clear indication that the problems should have been anticipated."

The report comes as former Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake continues to challenge the results of the race, pointing to election irregularities and, in part, alleging that machine errors in the county may have cost her the race by denying her supporters the opportunity to cast their ballots.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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