6 undisputed facts about Arizona election: Election Day issues, ballot counts, legal threats
At least 70 of Maricopa County's 223 vote centers experienced election machine problems on Election Day.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Following a judge's ruling that 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake's lawsuit challenging the outcome of the Arizona election will proceed to trial, opposing lawyers will continue to spar over contested facts, such as the number of vote centers affected by machine errors on Election Day. But amid the impassioned arguments about the Arizona election, six key facts aren't in dispute:
1. At least 70 vote centers in Maricopa County experienced ballot printer issues on Election Day, which resulted in ballot tabulation machine errors. The county has acknowledged that 70 vote centers had issues, while a report compiling Election Day observations made by GOP roving attorneys found that 72 out of the 115 vote centers they visited had issues. Maricopa County had 223 vote centers operating during the 2022 election, and Lake's lawsuit alleges that 59% of them — approximately 132 vote centers — experienced machine issues on Election Day.
2. As of two days after the election, there was a nearly 16,000-ballot discrepancy between the outstanding ballot counts estimated by Maricopa County and the Arizona secretary of state's office. "Unable to currently reconcile SOS listing with our estimates from yesterday," Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer wrote in a Nov. 10 email. The county estimated 392,000 ballots left to be counted, while the secretary of state's website said there were 407,664 ballots left. "So there's a 15,000 difference somewhere," Richer concluded.
3. Maricopa County's Election Day issues prompted Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office to send a letter to the county inquiring about "first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa's lawful compliance with Arizona election law." The AG's office asked the county about ballot printer issues, difficulties checking voters out so they could cast their ballots at another vote center, and the commingling of non-tabulated ballots in Door 3 of the tabulation machines with tabulated ballots. Maricopa County responded that while the election problems were "regrettable," the number of ballots affected by printer issues were "fewer than 1% of ballots cast" and "every lawful voter was still able to cast his or her ballot."
4. Hobbs' office threatened the Mohave County Board of Supervisors with possible felony charges if they didn't certify the election by Nov. 28. Two of the supervisors on the board voted to certify the election "under duress."
5. Cochise County didn't certify its election by Nov. 28, but was then sued by Hobbs' office to certify. On Dec. 1, a judge ordered the county to certify, which they did before the end of the day. Hobbs then asked Brnovich for an investigation into Cochise for not certifying the election by the state deadline.
6. Maricopa County uses in-person voter turnout data from prior elections for planning placement of vote centers for future elections, but the county also categorizes the data by political party, raising concerns that voters of different parties could possibly have different Election Day experiences based on their location.