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Maricopa County Investigating Election Day Printer Failures; Mistakenly Says Printers ‘Read’ Ballots

January 11, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

Maricopa County is investigating the mass failures of Election Day ballot-on-demand (BOD) printers resulting in issues for over 17,000 voters.

In a press release last Friday, the county shared a joint statement from Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman. The duo shared that former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor would lead the investigation. The duo also appeared to mistakenly state that the BOD printers “read” the ballots.

“This Board of Supervisors has always been committed to continuous improvement. When things don’t work, we find out why,” stated the pair. “[We will] find out why 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.”

McGregor is tasked with hiring a team of outside experts to investigate why there were mass printer failures. McGregor previously investigated allegations of unethical conduct within Arizona State University’s economics department concerning, specifically a quid pro quo agreement between the university and an education and technology company. McGregor’s investigation quickly proved the allegations to be false.

McGregor also investigated Arizona Department of Corrections safety issues pertaining to malfunctioning cell doors and locks. The report resulted in improvements to the malfunctioning security measures.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who is challenging the midterm election results in an ongoing lawsuit, questioned why Gates and Hickman stated that the BOD printers “read” ballots. 

During the county’s canvass of the election results, several poll workers testified that they witnessed election machine issues prior to Election Day. The county also disclosed that only certain BOD printers experienced failures during their preliminary investigative efforts: “Oki” model printers retrofitted to be BOD printers. According to the county at the time, 71 of 211 sites were impacted.

The timing of the county’s investigation aligns with its other actions to address voter concerns. A few hours before the state certified the election results, the county issued a survey asking voters how they felt about the midterm election.

The county also delayed its compliance with the Arizona Senate’s subpoena for election records for over a month. The legislator leading the charge to obtain the records, former State Sen. Kelly Townsend, did receive the records earlier this month. 

Townsend hasn’t published the records on a public forum yet. She stated that she couldn’t post the documents on the State Senate website.

Governor Katie Hobbs announced the creation of an Elections Task Force over the weekend. The task force must issue a report by Nov. 1 with recommendations to improve Arizona’s election laws, after which point it will be terminated.

In her press release, Hobbs took aim at Ducey. She indicated that him not launching a similar initiative showed a lack of leadership.

The order is one of the latest issued by Hobbs under her “First 100 Days Initiative.”

Hobbs also reinstated the Arizona Commission on Homelessness and Housing, which Ducey abolished in 2020, and banned gender identity discrimination from state employment. 


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

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