Maricopa County Elections Official Stephen Richer Wants to Use AI in Arizona Elections

Stephen Richer

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer wants a private contractor to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to optimize his office, according to an online advertisement seeking contractors.

The web listing, made on behalf of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, reveals Richer (pictured above) “is seeking a contractor to provide a solution to improve processes around document identification, data extraction, and comparing handwritten signature images with on-file signature images by way of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).”

According to the listing, the county “intends to enter into a contract to provide services related to automating human processing of documents using AI and ML” with the ultimate goal of improving the county’s “internal processes” and streamlining its “workflow processes.”

Those seeking to work with Richer should expect the contract to last three years, with an option to renew the contract three times. The pay will be renegotiated after one year.

Despite the job listing specifically mentioning using AI to compare “handwritten signature images with on-file signature images,” a county spokesman working under Richer claimed to The Arizona Republic that AI will not be used to verify voter signatures on early ballots.

“We are exploring tools to help us process and index recorded documents and paper voter registration forms so we can better utilize county resources, while ensuring staff continues to review everything,” Maricopa County Recorder’s Office spokesman Sierra Ciaramella claimed.

She also claimed the move could benefit law enforcement when investigating potential voter or election fraud reports, declaring it “another potential tool to support investigators and law enforcement.”

While Richer recently claimed to celebrate a legal victory over U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake, who the public official claimed defamed him as she contested the 2022 election results of her gubernatorial campaign, earlier this year, he was questioned for using taxpayer money to fund an ad campaign featuring his name and image.

State Representative Justin Heap (R-Mesa) announced a primary campaign to challenge Richer in February and, in March, officially received Lake’s endorsement.

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Tom Pappert is the lead reporter for The Tennessee Star, and also reports for The Georgia Star News, The Virginia Star, and the Arizona Sun Times. Follow Tom on X/Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Stephen Richer” by Stephen Richer. Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.





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