Maricopa County, Arizona, officials announced on Friday that an investigation is being launched into the numerous problems surrounding the November 2022 election.
County officials have named former Arizona state Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor to lead an independent investigation. McGregor has accepted the invitation to spearhead the effort. She was a member of the Arizona Supreme Court from 1998 to 2009. In 2019, she played a vital role in investigating security problems in the state’s prisons.
NEW: Former AZ Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor will lead independent investigation into Election Day printer issues. We look forward to her findings. Statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/mOhkWideou
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) January 6, 2023
A joint media statement issued by Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman said the investigation will be staffed by “independent experts to find out why the 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,” they added.
Maricopa is the most populous county in the state and is home to Phoenix, the capital city. The county has been at the center of controversy dating back to the 2020 presidential election when it faced multiple claims of problems with voting integrity.
During the November general election cycle, the county came back under fire two months ago. On Election Day, vote tabulation machines suddenly had trouble correctly reading ballots in around 70% of the county’s 223 voting locations.
Election officials blamed the problems on printers that failed to place sufficiently dark “timing marks” that transmit voting information from ballots to scanners.
Maricopa County announces former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor is tasked to investigate printer problems on Election Day.
Maricopa County, Pinal County, what else? Democracy demands answers.
— Abe Hamadeh (@AbrahamHamadeh) January 6, 2023
Immediately after Election Day, then-serving Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) requested public records from Maricopa election officials. The county responded by arguing that any voters affected by technical issues were offered alternative ballot procedures. Even though election officials have insisted that no voter was prevented from casting a ballot, several candidates have raised issues.
Most notably, Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for governor, brought a lawsuit after election results indicated she lost the race to Democrat Katie Hobbs by around 17,000 votes out of more than 2.55 million that were counted.
Lake claimed that county officials acted with intent or gross negligence to disenfranchise voters who appeared to cast in-person ballots on Election Day. She argued that because many more Republicans appeared to vote on Election Day, a much more significant proportion of her voters found it impossible to cast a ballot. She also alleged that “hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected the election in Maricopa County.”
A state judge dismissed her case after a two-day trial last month. She has appealed that decision.