Maricopa County Recorder: Mail-In Ballots More Reliable Than In-Person Votes

December 13, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said that early mail-in ballots are less problematic than in-person voting.

Richer made the remark during last month’s rowdy Board of Supervisors’ meeting to certify the election results. Richer said that this year’s early voting process had few issues, which he assured were remedied quickly.

“The early voting process is safe. It is secure, it is trackable, and it is subject to fewer of the caprices of in-person voting,” stated Richer. 

The county recorder disclosed that preference at the end of his summary report on the county’s election processes and relevant data. He also took a swipe at critics. 

“We can spend the next two years as we’ve spent the last two: fighting over conspiracy theories as promoted on social media by people who know nothing about elections,” stated Richer.

That line prompted loud, angry outcries from the audience. Gates pleaded calm, remarking that “the world is watching” as the audience shouted at Richer. 

Richer continued, insisting that people should stop focusing on issues like splunk logs and ballot mules, and instead focus on legislative efforts like speeding up early vote processing.

Richer assured those present and the tens of thousands viewing the live stream of the meeting that the election was run efficiently despite Election Day hiccups with tabulators stemming from printer settings. Richer noted that political observers representing all parties were present throughout the election process. 

Richer reported that Election Day voter registration totaled around 2.4 million. Approximately 77 percent of those were on the Active Early Voting List (AEVL); the county reportedly mailed out just under 1.9 million ballots.

There were 6,836 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) votes. Over 1.3 million million early ballots were returned early: 806,000 came through USPS. Of the 461,000 early ballots dropped off at drop box early voting locations, 290,000 were dropped off on Election Day. Richer remarked that the number of early ballots dropped off on Election Day were a significant increase, despite his “best efforts” to dissuade voters from doing that.

Richer walked through the early ballot review process. He dispelled rumors that the county uses artificial intelligence for signature verification.

Richer reported that on the day before Election Day, the county had processed all early ballots received by Saturday. By Wednesday morning they processed all early ballots they received by Sunday, Monday, or by mail on Tuesday. 

Richer emphasized that the county didn’t compromise any aspect of their early ballot processing because of the “stink” raised by the community concerning signature verification over the last few years. 

He reported that the Sunday after Election Day, the early vote team had to review provisional ballots and cure ballots. Approximately 16,000 ballots had “bad” signatures, and all were cured except about 1,800.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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