Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor will lead an investigation into printer issues that plagued Maricopa County on Election Day, according to a joint statement from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clink Hickman.
“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,” said the officials. “Maricopa County appreciates Justice McGregor’s willingness to serve in this role. We look forward to her findings.”
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
McGregor was first appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in 1998 by Gov. Jane Dee Hull (R), where she served until retiring in 2009. She became chief justice in 2005 before leaving office to “pursue other interests.”
Fields Moseley, communications director for Maricopa County, told The Arizona Sun Times via email that there is currently no timeline for this investigation nor any estimation of when results will be completed.
“Board members want Justice McGregor to take the time she needs to help them understand what happened so they can share that with the public,” Moseley said.
As for the problem at hand, the news of issues plaguing Maricopa County on Election Day spread quickly. People all over the county were having trouble getting their ballots tabulated on site. The problem was eventually identified as the printers, which were nearly all fixed later in the day.
The suspected reason tabulators could not read the ballots was that printers were not producing dark enough ink. The initial theory was that a setting was changed with the printers to cause this error.
However, Genya Coulter, an election analyst with Votebeat, stated that the miscolor was possible because the printers were overworked on Election Day and the county used paper thicker than the printers supported. Moreover, the printers’ fusers could have degraded, resulting in an off-color. Yet, Maricopa County insisted it stress-tested the printers using the same paper as on Election Day, so a clear answer to the problems remains unclear.
These problems are at the forefront of election challenges from Republicans Kari Lake and Abe Hamadeh. In her lawsuit, Lake alleged that equipment anomalies on Election Day caused voters, disproportionately Republican, to give up and not submit a vote. While the Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed Lake’s case, She will go to the Arizona Court of Appeals.
As for Hamadeh, he initially filed a lawsuit alleging that some people did not get their votes counted because of the Election Day issues. He argued that some people tried to leave one voting center and try again elsewhere because their ballot was not being tabulated. Yet, he alleged that at least 146 voters were not checked out properly, so when they tried to vote at a different site, the county’s system stated they had already voted. However, like Lake, Hamadeh’s case was dismissed after trial, but he has since filed a motion for a new trial. He now argues that a discrepancy in Pinal County’s vote count requires a full ballot inspection.
Moreover, more information may come from Maricopa County, as soon-to-be-former State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) has received the documents she requested in a subpoena of the BOS. Her subpoena asked for information on the ballot chain of custody for Election Day drop-off ballots and the county’s audit processes. However, she stated she could not share the documents she received on the Senate or any other website.
People are asking me about the subpoena. Maricopa county has provided the documents and they are currently being scanned. However, I am not allowed to post them on the Senate website so I’m not sure of the legality of posting on another site. This is what is taking so long.
— Sen. Kelly Townsend (@AZKellyT) January 6, 2023
– – –
Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ruth McGregor” by Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.
2 Thoughts to “Former Arizona Chief Justice to Lead Investigation into Maricopa County Election Day Printer Issues”
A more important question is: is this investigation going to perpetuate to pretense that “intent” is a necessary element of declaring the entire process invalid? No law requires it; only proof that the process was per se flawed, of which a surfeit exists. Incompetence is just as valid a cause of action as malfeasance.
From what I read, “…miscolor was possible because the printers were overworked on Election Day and the county used paper thicker than the printers supported. Moreover, the printers’ fusers could have degraded, resulting in an off-color.” Obviously to anyone familiar with electronics and printers can see through this excuse. None of it is true. It’s make believe. In fact the idea that fusers degraded and overworked printers is a total fabrication. These machines failed to work on minute one (1), they could not have been overworked or degraded! The writing is on the wall, this whole investigation is to discredit Lake’s case.