By Corinne Murdock |
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting on Wednesday included over an hour of public comment on Election Day issues. The majority of the public who spoke expressed frustration over the county’s handling of the election. BOS Chairman Bill Gates asked the crowd repeatedly not to clap, cheer, or issue commentary.
The main takeaway from several commenters and the BOS was that voters dissatisfied with current election processes needed to petition their legislators to change election law.
Several individuals thanked the BOS for their handling of the election. Among them was Ann Wallach, former Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair. Wallach said she doesn’t believe widespread voting suppression or election fraud are occurring. Wallach suggested that those dissatisfied with elections processes petition their legislators. Wallach said that mail-in voting doesn’t increase fraud, prompting angry cries from the audience.
“If there are people that are unhappy with our present system, I suggest that they take a look at the legislature and see if there’s action taken there that they don’t like,” said Wallach. “We’re all Americans and I think we all want to win fair and square.”
Several poll workers questioned election processes. One poll worker said the election needs to be nullified because of all the problems she witnessed. Another poll worker claimed that her location had 200 more ballots than voters that had checked in, located in Box 3 storage — where Election Day voters dropped ballots the tabulators failed to read. That same poll worker also claimed that the 17,000 voters affected by Election Day tabulation failures was a low estimate.
Another citizen expressed concern about the impartiality of the county officials, considering that Gates and Recorder Stephen Richer supported a PAC to defeat Trump-backed candidates.
“It’s not just a conflict of interest, it’s a specific agenda and a pre-bias going into it, so at the very least you should’ve recused yourself from any part of this election having opened that in 2021,” stated the woman.
Multiple citizens also expressed frustration with how they felt the officials brushed off the Election Day issues.
Martín Quezada, who lost in the treasurer’s race to Republican incumbent Kimberly Yee, thanked the BOS for their administration of last week’s election.
One voter proposed that the county have a runoff to provide a remedy for those who were prevented from voting due to mass tabulator failures and delays. He also questioned why Gates promised 99 percent of votes would be counted by last Friday, then announced on Thursday that the goalposts had shifted.
BOS Supervisor Steve Gallardo defended the county’s handling of the election, commending the workers. Gallardo added that the voters expressed valid concerns but indicated that these weren’t pervasive. However, he said nullification of an election has no legal pathway under current law.
“Our election system is safe, secure, and accurate,” stated Gallardo.
BOS Supervisor Thomas Galvin thanked the poll workers for sharing issues they’d experienced. Galvin said that the state legislature had been “sitting on their butt” when it comes to establishing election law, hence why it takes so long to count the votes.
“We’re all very disappointed in what happened and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Galvin.
Vice Chairman Clint Hickman added that Arizona couldn’t count more quickly like Florida because this state’s laws are different. Hickman told the citizens he was grateful that they behaved better than some anticipated.
“There were certain people and groups that want us to believe that you will come and act up and be ungracious and unhumble. That is pathetic, but we were girded for that,” said Hickman. “I want to thank you guys for coming here and speaking your voice.”
Gates said that their conduction of elections only took 8 days rather than the historical average of 12 days. Gates said he was disappointed that the audience kept interrupting him.
“It’s important people know the facts,” said Gates.
Gates promised they would publish a canvass of the votes soon.
Watch the BOS meeting here: