Arizona’s Maricopa County announced an investigation Friday into problems that plagued the 2022 election.
Former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor agreed to lead the “independent” endeavor, county officials said in a statement. McGregor was a member of the state Supreme Court from 1998 to 2009 and participated in a 2019 investigation into security issues at Arizona’s prisons.
McGregor will hire a team of “independent experts to find out why the printers that read ballots well in the August Primary had trouble reading some ballots while using the same settings in the November General,” Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman said in their statement. “Our voters deserve nothing less.”
NEW: Former AZ Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor will lead independent investigation into Election Day printer issues. We look forward to her findings. Statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/mOhkWideou
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) January 6, 2023
After Maricopa County, which includes the capital of Phoenix and is Arizona’s most populous county, became an epicenter of voter integrity issues stemming from the 2020 presidential election, it again faced controversy in last year’s November 8 contest when tabulators in roughly 70 of 223 voting centers reportedly had trouble reading ballots. The problems were attributed to printers that failed to produce sufficiently dark “timing marks” to inform scanners of voter information, according to the Associated Press.
In response to a November request for information from Arizona’s then-Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Maricopa County said affected residents were offered alternative ways to vote and insisted the printer glitches did not prevent anyone from casting ballots. Still, some candidates have raised concerns.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake sued after the results showed that she lost her November contest to then-Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) by roughly 17,000 votes. Lake claimed election officials worked to disenfranchise voters and alleged “hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected the election in Maricopa County.” A judge rejected the lawsuit, which included a claim of intentional misconduct related to malfunctioning ballot printers, but Lake is appealing.
Abe Hamadeh, the Republican in the race for Arizona attorney general who is also going to court to fight his November defeat, responded to the investigation news Friday, tweeting, “Maricopa County, Pinal County, what else? Democracy demands answers.”
Hobbs and others who were declared the winners of their respective contests were sworn into office this week.