Maricopa County dropped the ball. They botched the election, and there is simply no way for politicians to gaslight their way out of it. After years of fearmongering from the media and the left that election integrity measures would suppress and disenfranchise voters, it turns out no one suppresses and disenfranchises voters quite like politicians and bureaucrats in Maricopa County.
Rather than taking accountability for their failures, they have rubbed their incompetence in the faces of frustrated voters, smugly downplaying their failure and patting themselves on the back, asserting that they made a “remarkable effort.”
All eyes were on this election. Everyone knew it would be contentious, that key races would be close, and that record levels of Republican voters would show up to vote in-person on election day. Given this, one would think election officials would go above and beyond to ensure every minute detail was ironed out so that the election process was beyond reproach.
Instead, within minutes of polls opening at 6 am, reports were coming in that tabulators were not accepting ballots. Quickly, the number of impacted voting centers grew to more than 60 out of the 223 that were open. And of the 95 voting centers that were open only on election day, nearly half were impacted.
It took seven hours for the County to figure out what was going on – that the printers weren’t printing correctly. Then it took another five and a half hours (just 30 minutes before the polls closed) to get every location back up and running. Oh yes, that’s remarkable – remarkably bad.
It wasn’t just long lines—though undoubtedly some voters just gave up and went home instead of dealing with the mess Maricopa County created. The biggest injustice was the actual disenfranchisement of voters.
Here’s how that happened. A voter signed into a voting center and filled out their ballot, but the tabulator couldn’t read it. They were told by official poll workers that they can either place it in “Door 3” and trust that the County will securely deliver it downtown later that night and accurately tabulate it, or they can spoil their ballot and go to another voting center with tabulators that actually work.
If they went with the latter option, as some did, they spoiled their ballot and walked out of the voting center. But when they arrived at the next one, they were told they had already voted, because they were never signed out of the first location. So, they were then told to cast a provisional ballot.
However, that ballot can’t be counted, and it wasn’t counted, because a provisional ballot is only counted if the person hasn’t already voted. Because of this, as soon as they left the first location, they were doomed, and they were disenfranchised.
We don’t yet know how many voters were stripped of their vote in this way. It could be hundreds, or it could be thousands. What we do know is that it’s impossible for the numbers to reconcile now.
Maricopa County has attempted to redirect blame by saying they provided a “Door 3” option, but they botched that as well. In at least two voting centers, they mixed the “Door 3” ballots that had not been tabulated with the ballots that had been tabulated. That meant retabulating all of the ballots from those locations, and then backing out the numbers from the original tally.
And as for those voters that were assured their “Door 3” ballots would be the first to be counted? Well, it wasn’t until Monday the 21st of November, 13 days after the election, that all election day ballots were finally counted.
Maricopa County’s catastrophic failure has only solidified the lack of trust in our election system. And all of this in the backdrop of a Recorder who just last year started his own PAC to campaign against candidates running in elections he oversees (a clear conflict of interest). A Recorder who donated to far-left political causes. And a Recorder who, just when early ballots were being mailed out by his office, illegally placed the thumb of government on the scale to campaign against commonsense voter ID requirements with taxpayer resources.
All of this could have been avoided if Maricopa County was serious about running a smooth election. The County could have implemented on-site tabulation for early ballots to help get results on election night. They could have tested the tabulators. They could have tested the printers. And they could have spent a little less time speaking from their Misinformation Board, hosting press conferences, and trolling people on Twitter and a little more time preparing for the election. Instead, voters were disenfranchised, and once again, Maricopa County became the laughingstock of the country.
Assuming this was gross negligence on the part of Maricopa County (and not intentional sabotage), the voters are entitled to a full investigation and a contest of the election. The Attorney General appears to have initiated an investigation, and we do anticipate litigation by some of the candidates that will force the County into court in the next couple of weeks. Make no mistake, the actions being taken by the AG and pending litigation would not be possible without the thousands of Arizona voters who reached out to the campaigns and law enforcement about their eyewitness accounts and experiences on election day. To those that stepped up to tell their stories, we thank you.
Also, there are efforts to protest the election results or to call for a “redo” of the election through some form of legislative action or by preventing certification, but the reality is that the only place that redress can be achieved is through the courts. We understand that awaiting legal remedies is frustrating, but that is the only mechanism in place under state law and the constitution for contesting election results or to challenge the illegal activities that occurred on election day.
Coinciding with litigation and a potential AG investigation, a statewide recount is set to begin in at least two races, one of which—the Attorney General race—includes candidates who are separated by 500 votes. The outcome in these close races will likely hinge on what is uncovered and discovered through litigation. And with it, hopefully some remedy will be provided for the disenfranchised voters on election day.
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