As Arizona counts votes, Republicans seize on Election Day glitches


PHOENIX — Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for Arizona governor, seized on technical glitches at dozens of polling locations in a key county to call Thursday for a special legislative session to overhaul the state’s voting system, which she would have the power to do if elected.

Lake has yet to say that the election results can’t be trusted, as she did in 2020 when President Biden won the state, but her assertion that the system needs immediate change came as officials continued to count votes, a process they have warned could take up to 12 days. The results released so far show Lake, a former television news anchor, locked in a close contest with her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state.

Hobbs, meanwhile, wrote on Twitter: “This election will be determined by the voters, not by the volume at which an unhinged former television reporter can shout conspiracy theories.”

On Tuesday, nearly a third of polling locations throughout Maricopa County — home to Phoenix and more than 60 percent of the state’s voters — had problems with the printers that produce ballots on demand for individual voters. Starting early Tuesday morning, printers at 70 of the county’s 223 polling sites produced ballots with ink that was too light to be properly read by vote-counting machines, causing the ballots to be rejected, according to county officials. These officials had previously said that a smaller number of sites had problems.

Issues with some voting machines in Maricopa County, Ariz. sparked unfounded claims about election fraud. Democracy reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez explains. (Video: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Casey Silvestri/The Washington Post)

The officials said they had yet to determine the cause of the printer problems; they said the printers passed required logic and accuracy tests ahead of Tuesday and had been used during the August primary election and the 2020 elections with the same settings, with no problems.

Voters had the options of waiting for the problems to be fixed, going to different polling locations, or dropping their ballots into secure boxes that were transferred to downtown Phoenix and counted there. Voters placed about 17,000 ballots in the secure boxes, a higher number than in previous elections, county officials said. They said all votes will be counted, that all voters who wanted to cast a ballot were allowed to do so and that the printer problems will not affect the counting of votes.

Maricopa’s problems remained a mystery Thursday to officials in Washington, who have been disappointed since Election Day by the lack of a clear explanation communicated to both voters and the agencies charged with election oversight, said two people tracking the developments. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Kari Lake wants to upend how Arizonans vote, how their votes are counted

In a state central to widespread conspiracy theories after President Donald Trump’s loss in 2020, some Republicans leveraged the problems in Maricopa County to call for elimination of early voting and machines that count votes. Though early…

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