Calls Emerge for Maricopa County Officials to Resign or Be Recalled After Election Problems

Activists are calling for resignations and recalls as Arizonans – along with the nation – await Maricopa County election officials’ announcements of the definitive results from Tuesday’s 2022 general election.

The state’s most populous county said that 30 percent of voting machine tabulation problems, causing lines of up to two hours in places. Maricopa County Member-at-Large Brian Ference says wants Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Bill Gates, chair of the Maricopa County Supervisors, to resign. Robert Canterbury, who unsuccessfully ran against Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman in 2020, is considering starting a recall against Gates, prompting State Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward to respond, “Let me know how I can help.”

Noting that the failures happened in the Republican-leaning precincts of the county, Ference stated on his website, “Recorder Stephen Richer, Chairman Bill Gates, and the other MCBOS failed miserably in administering the election on Tuesday and beforehand in failing to clean the voter rolls.”

He went on, “The machines failed horribly. An estimated 40,000+ Republican voters were disenfranchised or unable to vote. This is voter suppression. This is election interference. This is fraud. Richer and Gates must resign immediately.”

A voter in Anthem, considered a conservative part of Maricopa County, said on a video clip that went viral that 90 percent of the machine tabulators at that polling location weren’t working.

Another man described how it took him 40 minutes to finally cast his vote.

Two voters at Central Christian Church discussed how none of the tabulators were working there, so they were told to leave.

A woman described how everyone voting at her polling location had to put their ballot in a separate box to be hand counted since the tabulators didn’t work.

In a response to a question about why he wants to recall Gates, Canterbury responded, “Because he is at the top of the food chain when it comes to elections in Maricopa County. They had 2 years to get this thing right and yesterday was totally unacceptable.” Ference suggested recalling Richer too, but Canterbury cautioned that it “will take a lot more” money.

Maricopa County leadership assured voters after the 2020 election debacle that Arizona’s elections were “safe” and “secure,” which Ference believes caused them to neglect to prepare for 2022. Richer issued a letter on August 19, 2021, which he has pinned to the top of his tweets, laying out why there were “measures already in place to ensure the integrity of the vote” in 2020 (he wasn’t in office yet during that election). On April 8, 2022, Richer and Gates issued a statement stating they ran “two safe, secure, and accurate jurisdictional elections during” 2020.

Gates and Hickman, who is currently the vice chairman of the Maricopa County Supervisors, issued a statement on November 9 about the fiasco, which did not include an apology. They claimed the printer issue affected fewer than 7 percent of election day voters or about 17,000 people. They said they did not know what caused the problem but that techs resolved it by “adjusting printer settings.”

Richer apologized, stating he was “very sorry,” but blamed the problems on the supervisors. He said his office is responsible for voter registration and early voting, while the supervisors are responsible for election day operations and tabulation.

Michele Swinick, who runs the organization Save My Freedom, worked as a judge on election day at a polling location in a heavily red area of Maricopa County, Scottsdale. She told The Arizona Sun Times that the problem with the tabulation machines was far worse than reported. She observed that during the first three hours the polling location was open, only about one in 10 ballots scanned properly the first time; the rest required four to 12 attempts until they were finally accepted. Notably, the tabulators worked “perfectly” during a test the night before, she said.

Swinick said most voters gave up and dropped their ballots in “door 3,” a box for the misread ballots. The box wasn’t supposed to be emptied until the end of the day, but since it kept filling up it was emptied three times. Between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m., she said, a tech stopped by and rebooted the machines, and they worked properly after that.

The “misread” ballots in door 3 were supposed to be run through the tabulators by the staff one more time before being sent to the main tabulation center, Swinick said, but she observed that this was not done. The inspector at her polling location declared that 25 percent of the ballots were misread, but Swinick said it was more like 40-50 percent.

Swinick said her roommate voted and was forced to place his ballot in the misread box, and it showed up on beballotready.vote as counted within an hour after she left the polling location, even though it was still at the polling location when she left. It would have had to have been transported to the main tabulation center, sorted, counted, then added to the website within that hour.

The joint statement from Gates and Hickman said that the misread ballots were “verified as legitimate then tabulated at MCTEC,” the main tabulation center.

Swinick said her supervisor threatened to fire her if she appeared on any podcasts to discuss what she saw.

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jim O’Connor, who warned county officials around the state well in advance of the election that using electronic voting machine tabulators would be illegal, told The Sun Times all of the Maricopa County Supervisors must resign, as well as Richer. He said a full hand count of Maricopa County ballots must be conducted.

“I join the voters of Maricopa County requesting the immediate resignations of the entire Board of Supervisors and the County Recorder for their gross negligence and maladministration of our 2022 General Election,” he said. “They had many citizens inform them of the many problems and vulnerabilities associated with continuing the use of voting machines and tabulators, which they ignored. It’s time to initiate a full 100% HAND COUNT of ALL Maricopa County Ballots. To be clear, the people now demand HAND COUNT, not another fake audit in which fraudulent ballots are recounted.”

Gates stated on Wednesday that 95 to 99 percent of the remaining ballot tabulation results for the county would be posted by Friday, but he told CNN on Thursday that “the lion’s share” wouldn’t be finished until next week. Florida has three times the population of Arizona but counts 99 percent of their ballots within three hours on election night.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

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One Thought to “Calls Emerge for Maricopa County Officials to Resign or Be Recalled After Election Problems”

  1. John Walters

    wanna stop election fraud: ITS SIMPLE PEOPLE….DONT MATTER WHERE ITS DONE, WHEN ITS DONE, BY WHO, WHAT IS DONE, OR HOW ITS DONE….USE VOTERS INDEX FINGERPRINT. THATS ALL. WHEN VOTE IS MAILED, ABSENTEE, IN PERSON, DROPPED OFF, FINGERPRINT IS ON FILE W/PRECINCT, AND A SMALL SQUARE IS ON BALLOT, BEFORE ITS ENTERED INTO MACHINE, FINGERPRINT SCANNER READS BLOCK WHERE VOTER PUTS PRE INVISIBLED INK INDEX FINGERPRINT IMPRESSION, AND IT GET READ. NO FINGERPRINT, NOT READ, WRONG FINGERPRINT FOR VOTER IT DOESNT GET READ. INVISIBLE FINGERPRINT IS ALREADY ON BALLOT THAT CANT BE SEEN BY VOTER, BUT BY MACHINE, AND WHAT FINGERPRINT IS ALREADY ON FILE WITH PRECINCT. SIMPLE…NOT ON FILE…CANT VOTE, NOT THE SAME PRINT…KICKED OUT,

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