The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is requesting an explanation before to the certification of midterm election results in the state’s largest county.
Jennifer Wright, assistant state attorney general, has requested a response from Maricopa County in response to many complaints of mismanagement on Election Day.
In a letter dated Saturday, Wright outlined claims of problems involving the reading of votes printed with bad ink on county printers, as well as probable irregularities involving the transit of ballots that required to be counted using technology at a centralized county facility.
“These complaints go beyond pure speculation, but include first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa’s lawful compliance with Arizona election law,” Wright asserted in her letter to the county.
The letter was sent to Thomas Liddy, chief of the civil division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Wright stated that the state office’s elections integrity section had received “thousands” of complaints regarding Maricopa election procedures.
Two county officials, Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and County Recorder Stephen Richer, may have violated a portion of Arizona law controlling county and municipal elections administration, according to the state prosecutor.
“Furthermore, statements made by both Chairman Gates and Recorder Richer, along with information Maricopa County released through official modes of communication appear to confirm potential statutory violations of title 16,” she wrote.
Wright stated that the state prosecutor’s office possessed a sworn complaint attesting to uncounted ballots that were placed in the secure slot on the vote-counting machine — referred to as “door 3” — being transported in black duffel bags intended for ballots that had already been tabulated.
“Further, we have received a sworn complaint from an election observer indicating that more than 1700 ‘Door 3’ non-tabulated ballots from one voting location were placed in black duffle bags that were intended to be used for tabulated ballots,” she said.
“Door 3” votes required processing at a central Maricopa County facility, not a local polling location.
Wright requested that the county make a voluntary report to the prosecutor’s office on the questions before the county certifies its election on November 28.
In a video posted on Saturday, Gates refuted claims that ballot tabulation issues and long waits at voting stations constituted voter suppression.
NEW: Chairman @billgatesaz directly addresses a claim being made about printer issues that impacted less than 7% of Election Day ballots. “I hate that this happened…but that does not constitute voter suppression. We know what voter suppression looks like in this country.” 1/2 pic.twitter.com/5sfehX0KLF
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) November 19, 2022
Monday, it remained unknown how the Arizona Attorney General’s Office planned to handle the county’s findings.
This month, the state staged many tight elections whose outcomes were not determined until nearly a week after Election Day.
Sunday, the Arizona Republic reported that Liddy’s spokeswoman declined to comment.