Arizona GOP Chair Gina Swoboda: Alleged Theft at Maricopa Election Center Is a ‘Critical Risk’ to Arizona Elections

Gina Swoboda

Chair of the Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) Gina Swoboda called the alleged theft of a security fob and keys from the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) by a temporary worker a “critical security incident” and “critical risk to the election.”

This week, The Arizona Sun Times reported that Walter Ringfield Jr., 27, who was on probation for a prior felony while working temporarily at MCTEC, was arrested for allegedly stealing a security fob and keys from the election center.

The alleged theft, which was caught on video surveillance at MCTEC, occurred last week. Law enforcement detectives found the wrist lanyard in Ringfield’s vehicle and the fob in a bedroom dresser while searching the suspect’s Phoenix home on last week.

As Swoboda (pictured above) pointed out, the fob allegedly stolen by the temporary worker is used to secure tablets at MCTEC.

The incident comes as Maricopa County—Arizona’s most populous county—is preparing for its July 30 primary election, for which early voting starts on July 3.

“This is a critical security incident and it is a critical risk to the election. These fobs…open the administrative function on each tabulation device. On Election Day in Maricopa County, when people vote in person, they’re able to put their ballot directly in the tabulator. With that fob, a worker or a person who acquires the fob can open the functions inside the tabulator. They can close that poll, the tabulator is considered a poll, and they can print out the results. So it’s a critical risk,” Swoboda said on Wednesday’s edition of The Michael Patrick Leahy Show.

Regarding the suspect’s background, Swoboda pointed out his ties to Democratic politicians and his previous work at a “left-wing NGO that was involved in elections.”

“There are concerns about how the background checks are being done on the temporary workers that are being hired. The individual that has allegedly committed this act, which is on video and this person is in custody of the Sheriff’s Department right now, had gone through some diversionary program. They had committed a theft of some sort of about $1,800 within the past year. This person also had extensive social media accounts…If you go to Caroline Wren’s Twitter feed, she’s got photos of this individual with a plethora of Democrat politicians from everywhere. This person purportedly worked for a left wing NGO that was involved in elections,” Swoboda said.

“We don’t know what his motivations were, but we do know he seems to be very active politically. These are serious concerns,” she added.

To make matters worse, Swoboda said she was not notified of the incident until she saw a post about it on social media.

“To top it all off, they never notified us. I found out on Twitter. That is how I found out,” Swoboda said.

Swoboda continued to point out that despite Maricopa County’s decision to reprogram its security equipment – which will cost around $20,000 – amid the security incident, she is not confident in the county’s ability to secure the upcoming elections.

“I don’t know how many other people like this individual they might have hired. I do know that we cannot count on them to give us [communications], a heads up, or any kind of thorough part of the process. I don’t know if they plan to improve anything about their hiring, but I’m certainly going to demand it,” Swoboda said.

Swoboda urged Arizonans to vote in the upcoming elections as she works to “make sure the system’s as secure” as she “can possibly make it such that those votes are counted accurately.”

“That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to fight,” Swoboda said.

“I don’t want our people to give up and not vote when they read these ridiculous headlines…We need, as President Trump says, we need a surge that’s too big to rig,” Swoboda added.

– – –

Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Kaitlin on X / Twitter.
Photo “Gina Swoboda” by Gina Swoboda. 





Related posts