Voting Problem Fuels Conspiracy Theories

PHOENIX — A misprint at 60 polling places in Arizona’s most populous county caused voting delays Tuesday, but election officials guaranteed all ballots would be counted.

Still, the issue fueled conspiracy theories about the integrity of elections in the state. Former President Donald Trump, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and others said Democrats were trying to subvert the votes of Republicans, who tend to turn out in larger numbers on Election Day.

Lake and other candidates on the Arizona ballot have pushed false claims about the 2020 presidential race, amplifying Trump’s lies about a stolen election. However, election officials from both political parties and members of Trump’s own cabinet have said there was no widespread fraud and that Trump lost the election to Democrat Joe Biden.

The Republican National Committee, along with the campaigns of Lake and Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters, filed an emergency motion to extend voting hours in Maricopa County.

“We have dozens of attorneys and thousands of volunteers working to solve this problem and ensure that Arizona voters have the opportunity to make their voices heard,” Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.

Equipment failures like this are common in every election, and officials have plans in place to ensure voting continues and all available ballots are counted.

The problem was printers not producing dark enough markings on the ballots, forcing election officials to change printer settings. Until then, some voters trying to get their ballots into the tabulators had to wait and use other machines, or were told they could drop their ballots in a ballot box. Those votes are scheduled to be counted on Wednesday.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said he was sorry for the inconvenience.

“Each legal vote will be tabulated. I promise,” she pointed out.

The problem affected 25% of vote centers in Maricopa County, which includes the Phoenix metropolitan area. It was not immediately clear how many ballots were affected.