Maricopa County announces investigation into Election Day printer issues

PHOENIX — Maricopa County is launching an independent investigation into printer issues experienced at some polling sites during the Nov. 8 general election.

Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor will lead the probe, county officials announced Friday.

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

“Justice 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. Our voters deserve nothing less,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman said in a joint statement.

McGregor was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court by Republican Gov. Jane Dee Hull in 1998 and retired in 2009. She was chief justice from 2005 until she retired.

“Justice McGregor has experience leading inquiries of this nature, including a 2019 investigation into issues with locks on state prison cell doors,” Gates and Hickman said in their statement.

Tabulators had trouble reading completed ballots at around 70 of the county’s 223 voting centers on Election Day, officials said. By that afternoon, technicians were able to fix the problem by adjusting the toner settings on the printers used to create on-demand ballots.

Voters who had issues were given the option of using a different voting location or putting their completed ballots into a secure compartment built into the tabulators. Those ballots were later collected by election workers and taken to be tallied at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center.

County officials say all the submitted ballots were accurately counted.

The printer problems were the focus of arguments in lawsuits from Republicans Kari Lake and Abraham Hamadeh, who lost races for governor and attorney general, respectively. Judges rejected the claims by Lake and Hamadeh.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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