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Voting machine printer company says Maricopa Election Day report 'inaccurate,' seeks correction

The printer company said Maricopa County did not contact them during the investigation into Election Day printer issues.

Published: June 11, 2023 11:15pm

A printer company says a report by Arizona's Maricopa County on errors at voting centers on Election Day 2022 is "factually inaccurate" and is seeking a correction from the county attorney’s office.

Ballot printer issues at more than 70 vote centers in the county on Election Day last year resulted in long lines because tabulator machines could not read some of the voters' ballots.

The county commissioned former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor to investigate the matter and write a report, which directed some of the blame on Japan-based printer company Oki Electric Industry Co.

The report, which was released in April, found that between the August primaries and the November general contest last year, the county expanded the length of ballots from 19 to 20 inches to include all of the required information for the races.

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.

“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 reads.

OKI responded late last month to the report by saying it was never contacted by county officials and investigation teams working on their behalf. Furthermore, the company said, neither election services providers nor "any other parties associated with the investigation" contacted OKI.

The company said it would not provide a response to "each issue raised in the report," but would respond to three specific statements, which are "factually inaccurate."

In addition, the company argues in its response that "all of these inaccuracies would have been avoided had the investigatory team simply contacted OKI in advance of the report's release."

County officials did not respond to a request from Just the News to address OKI's statements.

The first of the three claims that OKI addresses was regarding the printer's fuser, which fuses the toner onto the paper.

The report states the fuser was inadequate on the B432 printers and could not be "separately replaced.”

OKI responded by saying the fuser "is in fact available for replacement and can be changed onsite by a printer technician. The printer itself does not need to be replaced in the event that the fuser fails.”

The second claim in the report is that the fuser problem was "exacerbated" by the manufacturer of that printer having withdrawn from the North and South American markets and having established December 31, 2025, as the end of life for the printers, "after which repair parts and consumables will no longer be manufactured.”

OKI said in response the time "horizon" in the report for such service and support is "incorrect."

"OKI discontinued sales of OKI-branded printers in March 2021 [but] will abide by our legal obligations to support printers in the field with consumables and spare parts for a minimum of (5) years after product discontinuation," the company responded.

The company also said with regard to the specific model in question, "OKI will continue to supply consumables and spare parts for this model through at least March 31, 2028."

The final claim to which OKI responded was that many of the specific printer models in question were not capable of reliably printing 20-inch ballots on 100-pound paper under election-day conditions, "despite the assurances of the manufacturer."

OKI said the county should have reviewed the printer manual or contacted OKI before using 100-pound paper for the printers.

"As a result, it seems that the true underlying cause of the election issues was the use of 100 lb. paper without reviewing the manual and/or confirming with OKI that such use was within the specifications of the OKI B432 printers," the company said. "Had the county consulted OKI prior to such use, the design specifications would have been discussed and alternatives could have been explored."

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