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Maricopa County report dismisses Republican claims that cast doubt on election integrity

Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, released a report ahead of the planned certification of November election results accusing prominent Republicans of casting doubt on a safe alternative for voters amid problems with malfunctioning machines of vote tabulation in the state’s largest county on Election Day.

The report, released Sunday, comes a week after the state’s Republican attorney general’s office demanded answers from the county on widespread problems with voting machines, which some GOP politicians and pundits quickly seized on pushing information misleading or false. The county must certify its results on Monday.

In its report, the county said a “root cause analysis” of printer issues that prevented some vote tabulators from accepting ballots on Election Day is still underway, but noted that all printers used on Election Day “had updated firmware, had been installed with uniform settings, and used the same settings used in previous elections.

The report noted that voters were instructed to deposit their ballots in a secure ballot box — called the “Gate 3” option — if tabulators could not read them, a “decades-old practice” in the county. But despite being a “legal, safe and reliable” voting option, “many high profile and influential people have asked voters not to cast their ballots at Gate 3”.

“As a result, some voters declined to use this viable voting option,” the report said.

In a letter accompanying the report, Tom Liddy, a Republican and Maricopa County Civil Division leader, said eight other counties rely on secure boxes in elections because they “have no tabulators in their polling stations”, and their ballot papers. are instead transported to a centralized location to be compiled at each election.

“It cannot be true that the limited use of the Gate 3 ballot box for certain voters in Maricopa County violates the Constitution, while the mandatory use of a ballot box by every voter in more than half of the counties in the state don’t,” Liddy wrote. in response to the Attorney General’s office.

Election officials at the time of the malfunction urged voters at polling stations where the machines had malfunctioned to exercise other options, including either depositing their ballots in a secure box to be counted later in the day. , or go to another place to vote.

Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for Arizona governor endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and the state’s GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward, were among several prominent Twitter users who cast doubt on the platform about the electoral process following the reports on the problems. Lake, who ultimately lost to Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, attacked Maricopa County officials over both technical issues on Election Day and the extended vote count.

Last week, Maricopa County confirmed that Bill Gates, the chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, had been moved to an undisclosed location for his safety following social media threats related to the midterm elections. . County Sheriff Paul Penzone told reporters at a press conference that he recommended Gates and his family go to a safe place for one night because of threats that were still being made. of an investigation.

Penzone, a Democrat, called on political leaders to be more accountable.

“There are a lot of candidates saying things they shouldn’t,” including “people who politically may not have seen the results they were hoping for,” he said. “Have courage and speak up and say that these types of threats are no more wrong with our adversaries than they would be with us.

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