by Natalia Mittelstadt
While former Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake continues with election-related lawsuits regarding irregularities in Maricopa County, there were also other issues during the 2022 midterm elections that occurred across the country.
On Monday, Lake had her last day in court for her public records trial against Maricopa County over ballot affidavit envelopes. She had submitted a public records request in March regarding ballot affidavit envelopes from the 2022 general election, but the Maricopa County’s Recorders Office denied her request in April.
Lake wants to review the envelopes, which voters write their signatures on when casting mail-in ballots, to determine if the signatures match voters’ signatures that are on file with the county.
The Maricopa County’s Recorders Office has argued the ballot affidavit signatures are part of the voter registration record and are deemed confidential by state law with some exceptions, which they say Lake doesn’t meet.
Lake also had a case heard before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit earlier this month regarding the vulnerabilities of ballot tabulation machines. She alleges that the voting machines used in Arizona are vulnerable to multiple manipulations and vulnerabilities that are ignored by the courts.
There were multiple issues in Maricopa County during the 2022 midterm elections, in addition to other issues nationwide.
Here is a list of issues that were found during the 2022 midterm elections:
1. Ballot Printer Issues in Arizona
At least 70 out of 223 vote centers in Maricopa County experienced ballot printer issues on Election Day, which resulted in ballot tabulation machine errors. The county has acknowledged that 70 vote centers had problems, while a report compiling Election Day observations made by GOP roving attorneys found that 72 out of the 115 vote centers they visited had issues.
Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor, wrote a report commissioned by the county on the issues that occurred at vote centers. The report found that between the August primaries and the November general contest, the county expanded the length of ballots from 19 to 20 inches to include all of the required information for the races. The increased ballot size – in combination with the use of 100-pound ballot paper – was too great a strain on the printers, the report concludes.
One of the printer companies disputed some of the claims in the report, saying that the county should have reviewed the printer manual or contacted it before using 100-pound paper for the printers.
2. 15,000 Ballot Count Discrepancy in Arizona
As of two days after the election, there was a nearly 16,000-ballot discrepancy between the outstanding ballot counts estimated by Maricopa County and the Arizona secretary of state’s office. “Unable to currently reconcile SOS listing with our estimates from yesterday,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer wrote in a Nov. 10 email. The county estimated 392,000 ballots left to be counted, while the secretary of state’s website said there were 407,664 ballots left. “So there’s a 15,000 difference somewhere,” Richer concluded.
Maricopa County’s Election Day issues prompted then-Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office to send a letter to the county inquiring about “first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa’s lawful compliance with Arizona election law.” The AG’s office asked the county about ballot printer issues, difficulties checking voters out so they could cast their ballots at another vote center, and the commingling of non-tabulated ballots in Door 3 of the tabulation machines with tabulated ballots. Maricopa County responded that while the election problems were “regrettable,” the number of ballots affected by printer issues were “fewer than 1% of ballots cast” and “every lawful voter was still able to cast his or her ballot.”
3. Untrained Poll Workers in South Carolina
An audit of the Berkeley County, S.C., Board of Voter Registration and Elections’ administration of the 2022 elections released in June by the state Election Commission gave 30 recommendations.
The audit found that 25 of 440 poll workers and two polling location technicians were paid despite not receiving training for their positions. Checklists for opening and closing polls weren’t adequately completed for all polling locations, and neither were ballot reconciliation worksheets to ensure that all ballots were accounted for, according to the audit.
4. Ballot Paper Shortage in Pennsylvania
The Luzerne County, Pennsylvania district attorney investigated the causes of the ballot paper shortage that occurred at several polling places in Luzerne during the 2022 general election. The DA found that 16 of the 143 polling places in the county ran out of paper for the ballot-on-demand printers. The acting elections director at the time, who started her job nearly four months before the election, didn’t order more paper ahead of the election, despite saying she would.
The DA’s report also found that high staff turnover and the loss of institutional knowledge began around 2019, which he said were the underlying causes for the Election Day issues.
5. Failure to Mail Ballots in Nevada
In the 2022 general election, Washoe County, Nevada, failed to mail ballots to some voters in remote areas and misprinted sample ballots that cost over $178,000 to be replaced.
The Elections Group – which partners with the Center for Tech and Civic Life and received funding from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2020 – conducted an audit of the November 2022 election.
The elections consulting partnership recommended an overhaul of the county Registrar of Voters office in its nearly 80-page report, noting issues such as lack of internal and external communication, supervision, training and standard operating procedures.
The audit made recommendations on such issues as ballots, staffing, voter registration, election worker management and training, and standard operating procedures. The Elections Group also noted understaffing as an issue, as well as a heavy reliance on temporary employees.
6. Voting Machine failures in New Jersey
In Mercer County, New Jersey, there was an issue with Dominion voting machine scanners, forcing the county to use paper ballots instead.
The Mercer County prosecutor investigated the issue and found no evidence of vote tampering or criminal intent, claiming that there was a “miscommunication between Dominion Voting Systems and Royal Printing.”
Dominion said that its “tabulators functioned exactly as they should in accordance with certification; there were no machine ‘malfunctions.’” Royal Printing said in a statement, “This was not a printing or miscommunication error. It was a programming error.”
7. Vote Scanning Problems in Indiana
Floyd County, Indiana, had ballot scanner issues at several polling places on Election Day. Voters were asked to put their ballots into a box or hold onto them until the issues were fixed. The scanner problems were resolved before the afternoon.
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Natalia Mittelstadt is a reporter at Just the News.
Photo “Polling Place” by Lorie Schaull CC2.0.