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Maricopa Poll Observer Recounts Vote Tabulator Not Working During Test Run, But County Opened Site Anyway

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Janelle Weaver, a Maricopa County poll observer on Election Day, said both ballot tabulators at her voting center were inoperable when the site opened and one was still not working when her shift ended in the early afternoon.

She shared her experience on Monday at a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting regarding certifying the 2022 general election.

The county has admitted that 70 of the 223 polling locations had ballot printing and tabulators issues contributing to hours-long lines.

A lawsuit filed by GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s campaign last week puts the number at 114, or 53 percent of the sites.

“From the start both tabulators were not working,” Weaver said concerning the Tonopah polling location she monitored west of Phoenix on Election Day.

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“I was told by the workers that the second machine wasn’t working the night before during a test run, but the first one had run perfectly until the morning,” Weaver said.

Weaver further related that the workers told her that the county had been informed the machine was not working the Monday before the election and that the county had responded saying another machine would be sent “first thing in the morning.”

One tabulator finally began functioning at 7:17 a.m., over an hour after the voting location opened, but was only able to process one-in-five ballots, Weaver said. By 8:30 a.m., only 26 percent of the ballots cast had been processed, she added.

“By the time I left at 1:40, there was not a second tabulator there,” Weaver said.

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When tabulation machines would not read ballots, poll workers instructed voters that they could place their ballots in “Box 3” to be counted in Maricopa’s downtown Phoenix facility or “spoil” their ballot and go try to vote at another location.

Hours-long lines developed at multiple sites experiencing these problems leading the Lake campaign to argue since Republicans voted 3-to-1 over Democrats on Election Day what happened was large-scale vote suppression of her supporters.

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The Arizona attorney general’s office highlighted in a letter to the Maricopa board last week that there were reports of ballots that were tabulated at local polling places being mixed with those that were not.

Nonetheless, the county voted to certify the election Monday.

The Lake campaign has called for a redo of the election in Maricopa County.

Last week, Lake has filed a lawsuit against the county seeking further information about the polling location tabulator issues.

Given the approximately 17,000 votes separating Lake and Hobbs, it would take a net of about 240 Lake supporters being prevented or discouraged from voting per the 70 ill-function polling stations to make the difference.

If the true number of polling locations experiencing the issues was 114, that would translate to 149 voters per location.

TurningPoint USA president Charlie Kirk, who is a Lake supporter, tweeted she would have won on a normal Election Day if just an average of 200 of her supporters were suppressed from voting.

Poll worker Mike Peterson told the board of supervisors Monday that hundreds of people at his voting location in the Paradise Valley community were in effect disenfranchised.

“When they come in and bring their ballot, and they can’t turn it in because there’s a line to turn it in. Or they can’t vote because they’re told they can’t check in because they weren’t able to properly check out at the previous polling center” which drives down Election Day voting totals.

Peterson recounted that there were 675 people waiting in line when his location officially closed at 7 p.m. The would-be voters could have stayed in line and waited to cast a ballot, but apparently gave up.

“Of those 675 do you know how many came in? 150. It means that you have personally disenfranchised voters. They have come. They have seen and they have given up because they know what was going on,” Peterson said.

In other words, over 500 people did not vote who clearly wanted to and that was just of voters that showed up near the end of Election Day.

This figure would not include those who may have been discouraged by long lines during the day.

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