Meanwhile, Hobbes wrote on Twitter: “This election will be decided by the voters, not whether or not a former TV reporter yells out a conspiracy theory. It will be decided by the voters.”
Nearly a third of polling places across Maricopa County (home to Phoenix, home to more than 60% of the state’s voters) had problems Tuesday with the printers that produce ballots at the request of individual voters. .As of early Tuesday morning, 70 of the county’s 223 ballots have had printers According to county officials, ballots were rejected because the sites produced ballots in ink that was too thin to be properly read by ballot-counting machines. was saying
Officials said they had not yet determined the cause of the printer problem. They said the printer passed the required logic and accuracy tests before Tuesday and was used without issue in the same setup during the August primary and his 2020 election.
Voters had the option to wait for the problem to be fixed, go to another polling place, or drop their ballots in a safe box and have them forwarded to downtown Phoenix, where they would be counted. According to county officials, voters put about 17,000 ballots into secure boxes. This is a higher number than in the last election. They said all votes will be tallied, that all voters who wish to vote will be allowed to do so, and that printer issues will not affect the tally of votes.
The Maricopa issue remained a mystery to Washington officials on Thursday, frustrated since Election Day with no clear explanation given to both voters and the agency charged with overseeing the election. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to.
Kari Lake wants to upend how Arizona people vote, how votes are tallied
In a state that has become the center of widespread conspiracy theories after the defeat of President Donald Trump in 2020, A few Republicans used the Maricopa County issue to call for early voting and the abolition of vote-counting machines. Early voting has long been popular in Arizona, but ballots returned in the days leading up to Election Day and on Election Day always take longer to process, and ballots are processed in the order received. . To get the results posted more quickly, county leaders for weeks urged voters to return their ballots as soon as possible.
Election officials were working on about 400,000 ballots in Maricopa County as of Thursday night. Officials here said they had expected to report at least 95 percent of results by Friday, but had always expected the count to take as long as 12 days. He said it would take more time to reach his goal, working over the Veterans Day federal holiday and weekends.
Voters cast approximately 290,000 votes on Election Day. This is the highest number ever. It suggests that many voters may have acted on instructions from Republican leaders and candidates.
Some Republicans have argued, without evidence, that the drip-drip release of results that occurs during every election here is what county officials claimed was a win by Lake, and possibly other Republican candidates. He claimed that he was implying that he wanted to delay it.
Officials in Pima County, home to Tucson, have dismissed such allegations. Her Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, the county recorder, said it was taking time to process the large number of early ballots that didn’t arrive until Election Day. “We follow the law,” she said.
Maricopa County administrator Bill Gates (Republican) noted that Arizona is a battleground state and narrow margins in statewide contests have resulted in a pattern that routinely takes days to complete tallies within the county. pointed out that Gates, who has done his two-time work on state Republican election day integrity, said Lake may not be familiar with the county’s counting process.
“Frankly, it makes Kari Lake uncomfortable when people behind me work 14 to 18 hours and they move slowly,” he said at a 45-minute press conference from time to time. I said while holding it. “I really hope this is the end. We can be patient and respect the outcome.”
Gates said it’s important not to think that Arizonans “are picking and choosing which ballots to count. We use the accounting concept of first in, first out.”
Researchers investigating social media attempts to deny the legitimacy of election results say fraud stories get less attention in the immediate aftermath of the vote. But some warn that a prolonged count in Arizona could create an opportunity for misleading narratives to take hold or rogue actors to try to sabotage the process.
Soon, the Republican candidate in Arizona and his allies got to grips with the mechanical issue and prepared the populace for sweeping legislative changes. During the primary, Lake ran on a platform and counted millions of votes manually rather than by machine, but election experts say the method is less accurate. She supports “one-day voting,” where votes are cast in assigned constituencies. Arizona allows mail-in ballots, and you can vote at any polling place in Maricopa County.
During the final days of the campaign, Lake was particularly vague about his plans for electoral reform.
“I’m going to work with our great legislators to make great legislation that will secure the vote,” she briefly told reporters on Sunday before the election, after stopping southeast of Phoenix.
Even her most staunch allies seemed to be in obscurity. Far-right state senator Wendy Rogers, who is pushing for a “decertification” of the 2020 election, said it would be impossible under state or federal law. The process, experts say, has refused to commit to a system that only allows one-day voting — an idea that has been pushed by far-right activists here. At the same event, when asked if she would support such a proposal, she replied, “essentially.”
But the Maricopa County issue has given Lake and her supporters a new focal point of anger. During an appearance on a radio show hosted by Charlie Kirk, founder and president of her Phoenix-based Turning Point USA, Lake asked, “What went wrong? How did these anomalies come about?” asked for a task force to investigate.
“It’s either administrative misstep or incompetence, we don’t know what it is,” she added.
Kirk went even further, claiming, without evidence, “I think it was a traffic jam on purpose.”
How a group of pro-Trump youth remade the Arizona Republican Party and tested democracy
But that belief wasn’t reflected in Lake’s delicate dancing. She told her supporters against controlling an election that put her in her governor’s office.
“It’s a messed up electoral system,” she said. “We knew we had to go through it to get the win.”
That message put fellow Republican candidates in a difficult position. Other campaigns have taken cues from Lake on how to respond to post-election uncertainty, according to Republicans familiar with the debate. , suggesting something nefarious was happening on Tuesday, but he was largely silenced on social media as Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) edged him out with an imperfect result.
A funding complaint from the Masters’ campaign on Thursday did not allege any wrongdoing, but “some of the issues that have arisen during this election are troubling.” We expect a contested road and a legal battle to come.
Republican Attorney General Abraham Hamade attacked Maricopa County but did not argue that the vote, which was tied with Democrat Chris Mays, was rigged.
The exception is Republican secretary of state candidate Mark Finkem, who trailed Democrat Adrian Fontes in the primary results. Finkem speculated on Twitter that Fontes and other Democrats could be “in the back room with ballots”. Please stop this conspiracy garbage.”
More broadly, the state’s top Democratic candidate urged patience, with Hobbes writing on Twitter that “accurate election results take time.” Kelly thanked his supporters on his social media, writing: But we don’t have the final result yet. ”
Lake was huddled Wednesday in meetings with advisers, outside allies and those who could end up serving in her administration. Among them was Floyd Brown, a longtime conservative operative and founder of the news and opinion website Western Journal, according to two people familiar with the debate. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private discussion. Brown, who did not respond to requests for comment, said on social media that the Maricopa County mechanical problem was an “effort to stop” Lake. suggested.
Lake also met with Eileen Klein, a Republican and chief of staff to former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Danny Seiden, who heads the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and previously served for Gov. Doug Ducey (Republican). Kirk’s Tyler Bowyer, chief operating officer of political affairs at Turning Point USA; No one commented on the meeting.
Maricopa officials say they don’t yet know the root cause of the faint print on some ballots, but the technicians changed the settings to allow them to use a heavier type of paper, which could help alleviate the problem. appears to have been fixed by late Tuesday afternoon.
Printers like the one used by the county include a “fuser”. This is a heated roller that melts the toner and adheres it to the paper. Different paper weights require different temperatures for proper toner adhesion.
The county has about 760 printers for printing ballots on demand, according to Megan Gilbertson, communications director for the county’s elections department. About 600 of them were manufactured by Oki Electric, a Japan-based company that ceased all sales of its printers in the United States in March 2021. Gilbertson said there were problems with these printers.
“It’s standard practice to keep equipment running if the organization can keep it,” says Gilbertson. Dennie K. Kawahara, president and chief executive officer of Oki Data Americas, said in an email that the company has not received any inquiries or customer service requests related to the Maricopa County issue. “The printer was tested before the election and was working fine,” Kawahara wrote.
Maricopa’s 2022 election plan says each of the county’s 223 polling places will have two or three printers, providing enough capacity in case one fails.
Gilbertson said each ballot printer is only connected to a laptop, not to each other and not to the Internet. She said the printer settings can only be changed manually and requires a password to make changes.
Swain and Davis reported from Washington. Cat Zakrzewski of Washington contributed to this report.