Maricopa County certifies election results over residents' grievances about polling station problems
'My ballot looked perfect and no matter what I did, the tabulator would not accept it,' one Maricopa resident said.
Residents of Arizona's Maricopa County attended a board of supervisors meeting Monday to express their disapproval of how the 2022 elections were conducted that ultimately concluded with board members certifying the results.
Poll workers at the meeting said ballots weren't being read, tabulators weren't working, and many people were unable to vote.
During closing remarks, county officials stressed that the election was secure and accurate. Board Chairman Bill Gates said while there were some issues, the county was transparent about it.
"Let me be abundantly clear: There has never been a perfect election, and this was not a perfect election," Gates said. "There were issues, but we were transparent about that."
Among voter concerns were problems with balloting equipment at some polling stations and the resulting consequences.
"Thousands could not vote. Thousands left discouraged," resident Sharon Huber said during public comment part at the meeting. "I was one of those voters disenfranchised in Wickenburg, in Maricopa County. I tried to vote in person and I was told by the poll workers I had the right kind of ballot, that they had problems with the printers at first, as well as the tabulators all day long."
"Sure enough the tabulator would not accept my ballot," Huber continued. "I tried over and over for close to an hour — going from one tabulator to another. I inspected my ballot. My ballot looked perfect and no matter what I did, the tabulator would not accept it. I watched dozens of voters have the same problems."
Poll worker Mike Peterson said, "Voters this cycle have in fact been disenfranchised."
He said that when a tabulator went down in one voting center, voters had to go to another voting center but they had not been properly checked out of the previous voting center.
Peterson also said that poll workers weren't taught how to properly check voters in and out of voting centers, resulting in issues of votes not being counted.
"At my poll center, we literally had at 7 p.m. on Election Day 675 people waiting in line," he said. "Of those 675 people, you know how many people came in? 150. It means that you have personally disenfranchised voters. They came, they have seen, and they have given up because they know what is going on."
Many residents called for the board not to certify the election until the issues with the voting machines and process are resolved.
The county acknowledged that some printers printed ballots that made them unreadable by ballot scanners but said "when compared to the total number of voters who participated in the 2022 General Election, fewer than 1% of ballots cast were affected by these printer issues."
Last week, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich ordered county officials to submit a report on its handling of the 2022 election.
On Sunday, Thomas Liddy, the county's chief civil division attorney, responded to Brnovich order by acknowledging Election Day problems – including those with printer and tabulation machines in at least 70 of the county’s 223 polling locations.
However, he argued "every lawful voter was still able to cast his or her ballot."
“No voter was disenfranchised because of the difficulty the County experienced with some of its printers,” Liddy wrote. “Every voter was provided a ballot by which he or she could record their votes, and all such ballots cast by lawful voters were tabulated, whether in the vote center or at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center."