Vote-counting machines weren’t working in about 20% of polling sites in Maricopa County, Arizona, as Election Day voting in the midterms began, county officials said.
The Maricopa County Recorder’s Officer said technicians were called to fix the tabulator machines that weren’t working, Fox10’s TV station in Phoenix reported. It’s not clear how many of the machines were malfunctioning in the state’s most populous county.
“About 20% of the locations out there where there’s an issue with the tabulator … they try and run (completed ballots) through the tabulator, and they’re not going through,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors chairman Bill Gates said in a video posted on Facebook.
CNN reported that county officials were correcting the problem, which was caused by someone entering a password too frequently into the machines.
Long lines of voters were appearing throughout the county as officials tried to reassure people that all votes would be counted.
“If there are long lines at the location you’re at, or issues with the tabulator, if you would prefer to go to another location, you can do that,” Mr. Gates said. “It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you’re a registered voter here in Maricopa County.”
Mark Finchem, Republican candidate for Secretary of State, called the foul-up “unacceptable performance.”
“This is why I filed suit in U.S. District Court to block the use of black box ballot tabulation equipment,” Mr. Finchem wrote on Twitter. “It’s also why we must return to paper ballots, hand counting, at the precinct on election day.”
County officials said voters were still able to cast ballots at locations with defective machines, but those ballots would be placed in a “secure box” to be kept until taken to a central counting location Tuesday night.
“This will function much like early voting functions, in that we would get your ballot back; once we’ve signature-verified it, we would send it to our central tabulators,” Mr. Gates said. “Ballots that are (at the central location) will already be signature-verified, so we won’t need to confirm identity, but we will central-tabulate them.”
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