Voting obtained off to a glitchy begin in Maricopa County on Tuesday morning due to widespread points with the machines that depend voters’ ballots.
All of the county’s 223 voting areas opened on time, however an hour into the election, voters and ballot employees at some websites began reporting points with tabulators.
Officials confirmed these issues throughout an impromptu Tuesday morning information convention.
“After people have voted (their ballot), they try to run them through the tabulator, and they’re not going through,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates mentioned.
Voters have the choice of inserting their poll in a safe field to be tabulated later, going to another location to vote, or returning later within the day to the identical location in hopes the issue might be mounted.
Election Day protection: Live voting updates | Arizona election results
Voters had been fast to share their frustration. Josh Erb, who tried to vote on the Mountain Park Health Center Baseline Clinic in south Phoenix, mentioned he’ll want to come back again to the identical website as soon as he will get off work.
“They mentioned that we are able to slide it within the machine, however I don’t need to threat it,” Erb said. “If it’s not working, I’m not going to put my vote.”
Here’s what you need to know about the problems.
What is a tabulator and why is it important?
Maricopa County uses several different machines at its vote centers: electronic check-in stations, ballot-on-demand printers, and the tabulators, where paper ballots are fed after people vote.
Although they’re often referred to as voting machines, voters don’t actually vote on tabulators. Rather, a tabulator’s job is to count the paper ballot that voters fill out.
There are several different brands of tabulators, but Maricopa County uses Dominion ones. The machines are generally new. Those used in the 2020 election were permanently compromised by the Arizona Senate’s election review, officials said. The county spent millions to purchase new machines and then destroy the old equipment that was subpoenaed for the Cyber Ninjas-led audit.
The county has used tabulators for decades, according to officials.
How many voting areas are affected?
Officials estimate that about 20% of vote centers are experiencing tabulator problems.
That number is up from an earlier estimate, which put the issues at about 10% of polling places.
What are voters’ options?
Voters at impacted polling sites can still cast a ballot, officials say.
If a tabulator is not working at a site, they have the option of casting their ballot and placing it into a secure slot in the tabulator, labeled “door 3.” Ballots in this secure box will be tabulated later, either at the county’s main tabulation center or on-site at polling locations by a bipartisan team of poll workers.
“This is one thing that we have had in place for many years,” said Elections Department spokesperson Megan Gilbertson. “We’ve all the time had this safe door, and having a backup plan to our backup plan to ensure each voter is ready to cast a poll at the moment is admittedly crucial factor to us.”
Alternatively, voters can go to a different location to cast their poll.
What is Maricopa County doing to fix the issue?
Officials have yet to release details on the exact problem with the tabulators but said early Tuesday that they are working to determine the cause of the issues and address it.
“We’re doing what we are able to to get these again on-line,” Gates said. “It’s not like each of the tabulators are having these points. It might solely be one (at a location).”
Includes information from Arizona Republic reporter Madeleine Parrish.
Sasha Hupka covers Maricopa County and regional issues for The Arizona Republic with a focus on voting and democracy. Do you have a tip about elections or questions about voting? Reach her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @SashaHupka.