Maricopa County Spokesperson Admits 20,000 ‘Late’ Ballots Were Scanned Before Verification; Expert Says Likely a Crime

In an email exchange with The Arizona Sun Times this week, a Maricopa County Recorder’s office spokesperson may have unwittingly admitted that the county mishandled thousands of ballots from the 2020 general election that one watchdog groups says were accepted after the legal deadline.

Megan Gilbertson, the communications director for the Maricopa County Elections Department (MCED) – a department of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office – said that the department processed ballots by scanning them into the tabulating machines at MCED before transferring their custody the next day to Runbeck Election Services, which verifies their legitimacy with signature verification.

She stated, “Due to the large volumes of early ballots received Election Day, we are scanning in early ballots received by 7 p.m. on Election Day well into the next morning, which is why a transfer of custody document would have a date after Election Day.”

In an earlier email, Gilbertson noted that “early ballot envelope signatures that are cured would also be tracked and scanned after Election Day until the curing deadline. None of these ballots would be marked as rejected, as they were all received by the Elections Department prior to 7 p.m. on Election Day.”

Gilbertson added that although the receipts are dated after Election Day, the ballots weren’t late because they were either cured ballots (Arizona law provides five days after an election to cure ballots) or took extra time to transport to Runbeck, their third-party private vendor, due to scanning them first at MCED.

Maricopa County elections officials contracted with Runbeck Election Services, a Phoenix-based business founded in 1972 by Chuck Runbeck. According to the company’s website, the firm specializes in “customized election solutions, reaching more than 70 million voters” and touts its services “are conducted from our state-of-the-art, secure facility – designed specifically for the production of election-related materials.”

The county contracted with Runbeck Election Services to provide signature verification for the ballot affidavits contained on the ballot envelopes.

The ballot receipts, the county spokesperson said, are drawn up when MCED drops the ballots off with Runbeck for verification – not when they come in from the United States Postal Service (USPS).

She wrote, “We have bipartisan staff that pick up envelopes from USPS. That staff delivers these envelopes, each with a unique intelligent barcode, to the Elections Department. The envelopes picked up from the post office are then delivered to Runbeck along with the early ballot affidavits dropped off at voting locations on Election Day.”

The Sun Times asked Gilbertson to confirm her statement that ballots go directly from USPS to MCED first, then to Runbeck.

“Yes,” she answered.

The Sun Times shared the information from Gilbertson with an Arizona election lawyer, who said that under the state’s elections law, tabulating an unverified ballot is a crime.

The attorney pointed to three separate provisions of Arizona state law.

First, 16-550(A) of the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) states that the first action by elections officials upon the receipt of a ballot is to verify its authenticity by comparing the signature on the affidavit (on the envelope) to the corresponding signature in the county record.

16-550. Receipt of voter’s ballot; cure period

A. On receipt of the envelope containing the early ballot and the ballot affidavit, the county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall compare the signatures thereon with the signature of the elector on the elector’s registration record. If the signature is inconsistent with the elector’s signature on the elector’s registration record, the county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall make reasonable efforts to contact the voter, advise the voter of the inconsistent signature and allow the voter to correct or the county to confirm the inconsistent signature.

 (emphasis added)

Second is ARS 16-1009, which classifies the offense for public officer(s) who do not follow the procedures in the way the law describes.

16-1009. Failure or refusal to perform duty by election officer; classification

A public officer upon whom a duty is imposed by this title, who knowingly fails or refuses to perform that duty in the manner prescribed by law, is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.

(emphasis added)

Third is ARS 16-1010, which further classifies an election official’s failure to follow lawful procedure with regards to elections.

6-1010. Refusal by election officer to perform duty; violation of election law; classification

A person charged with performance of any duty under any law relating to elections who knowingly refuses to perform such duty, or who, in his official capacity, knowingly acts in violation of any provision of such law, is guilty of a class 6 felony unless a different punishment for such act or omission is prescribed by law.

(emphasis added)

In Arizona, each count of a class 3 misdemeanor is punishable with up to 30 days in jail. One count of a class 6 felony is punishable with up to one-and-a-half years in prison.

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward told The Sun Times, “I don’t trust a word that comes out of the Maricopa County Election’s Department nor from the County Recorder and his staff. They’ve got a history of incompetence, law breaking, and obfuscation related to election integrity and this is just another instance. … it looks like they’ve got something to hide.”

– – –

Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News NetworkFollow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Megan Gilbertson” by Megan Gilbertson


Related posts

17 Thoughts to “Maricopa County Spokesperson Admits 20,000 ‘Late’ Ballots Were Scanned Before Verification; Expert Says Likely a Crime”

  1. […] Maricopa County spokesperson admits 20,000 ‘late’ ballots were scanned before verificati… […]

    1. Endisnere

      Hmmmmm…so what else is new?

  2. Tek

    Look a liberal bot….the world knows he won and you assholes cheated.

  3. Kitty

    Wow. Are there still people who think Biden really won the 2020? Got more votes than any other candidate for President in history? Really? No sane person that is for sure.

  4. Jamestrogers

    No question Trump is correct in his comments about the election. The Democrat political machine is completely corrupt.

  5. Jeff

    Typical lying Republican BS, get over it he lost by a long shot

    1. Lori

      Nope Joe Is A Fake President

    2. Fee C Leung

      I think everyone should hold off calling other side names. Best answer is take the info to a court of law and let the judge decide if something is illegal or criminal.

      1. Randy

        Only problem with that idea is that these complaints end up in Obama judge courts and everybody knows how that ends. Democrats brag that some election fraud complaints just after the election were thrown out of court by these liberal judges. What they won’t say is the dismissals were mostly for standing, the judges refused to even consider the any evidence even official documents, eye witness and video and common sense. Brandon did not get 80 million legal votes, nobody believes that, even most Democrats.


      Thank God for PROOF of Arizona election Fraud. Truth will prevail.. President Trump Is still our President. Deal with it.

    4. Doc57

      You misspelled democrat.

      Typical democrat illegal, immoral dumber than a rock. Follow the mules.

    5. James McRae

      Laughable guess you just can’t accept reality

    6. Mlungu

      Obviously you haven’t been informed about the typical Democrat BS and fraud that has been uncovered with the 2000 Democrat Mules stealing the election with an estimated 4.8 million illegal ballots being dropped into drop boxes in a massive coordinated election steal. Never mind all the other election fraud that has been uncovered.. When the facts are uncovered the brainwashed Democrats go into denial mode and call it Conspiracy. Well we will soon begin to see a flow of corrupt Democratic mules going through the Courts on their way to jail and then what are you going to say about Biden winning a corrupt election.

    7. Gregory Kells

      Of course he did. Why wouldn’t people believe Joe Biden, who barely campaigned, and was widely mocked even among his closest partisan allies, got more votes than ANY other President in U.S. history, most of which showed up in the middle of the night and all at once?

    8. Randy

      The Maricopa Elections office is run by Democrats. Hmmm, are you calling them liars?

    9. John Kocur Jr

      2000 Mules says you and your leftist cronies are pathological liars as well as cheats.

    10. Bill

      2000 Mules can anyone disprove it?