Republicans sue for extended voting hours in Maricopa County
Republicans Kari Lake and Blake Masters, along with the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, filed a lawsuit late Tuesday against Maricopa County demanding that polling places remain open until 10 p.m. on Election Day.
The suit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, citing problems with tabulation machines that contributed to delays at around 60 of the 223 voting centers in the county.
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Fields Moseley, the county’s communications director, said that the county can’t comment on pending litigation, but the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is dealing with the suit.
In the suit, the Republican candidates and organizations claim that “at least 36% of all voting centers across Maricopa County have been afflicted with pervasive and systemic malfunctions of ballot tabulation devices and printers, which has burdened voters with excessive delays and long lines.”
The Republicans argue that the issues at the polls caused some voters to leave without voting because of “untenably long lines.”
They also claimed that some voters whose ballots couldn’t be read by the tabulation machines were informed that they could discard that ballot and go to a different polling place to vote. Those voters failed to be “checked out” of the voting center they were at so their ballot was destroyed, however, which meant when they arrived at a second polling place, it appeared as if they had already voted, so they couldn’t vote there or were required to cast a provisional ballot.
The plaintiffs also said that the tabulation issues shortened the 13-hour voting period required by law, and that extending the voting hours “is necessary to prevent irreparable injury to the Plaintiffs and their members and supporters, and is demanded by the balance of equities and crucial public policy considerations.”
The plaintiffs are asking the court to extend the end of voting hours from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and to delay the public release of initial results in Maricopa County from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The suit also asks that inspectors at every polling location allow any voter who has been recorded as already having cast a ballot in this election be allowed to cast a provisional ballot — and that those provisional ballots be counted if the voter can “demonstrate to the satisfaction of” a judge that they had not previously voted.
By mid-afternoon on Election Day, Maricopa County announced that it was beginning to fix the tabulation issues caused by printer settings that didn’t produce dark enough timing marks on the ballots. Tabulation issues happened at 60 vote centers out of 223 in Maricopa County, the county said.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer apologized for the issues and promised that every legal ballot would be counted.
He encouraged voters to put their ballot in the box in the tabulator to be counted later or go to a different site that wasn’t experiencing issues. Voters were told to make sure they checked out of line at the voting center experiencing issues before heading to a different polling location.