News Flash

Office of Communications

Posted on: April 10, 2023

Printer Investigation Complete

Maricopa-County-Feature

Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor has completed her independent investigation into the printer issues that affected some Maricopa County Vote Centers in the November 8, 2022 General Election. The investigation included extensive interviews with County staff and contractors followed by the printing and tabulating of 9,100 ballots on randomly selected printers and tabulators in February and March 2023. 

Read the Report

“I pushed for an outside investigation as soon as this happened, and I appreciate Justice McGregor and her team’s thorough, professional, and independent review,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4.  “We don’t grade our own homework and now that we have a better idea of the factors involved, we’ll make changes to best serve voters, starting with replacing some equipment.”

The McGregor report confirmed the County’s initial findings that on November 8, 2022, some older printers could not maintain the heat required to consistently print ballots dark enough to be read by the on-site tabulators.  The ballots that could not be tabulated on-site were taken back to the Elections Department where they were successfully tabulated and counted.  All legal ballots were counted and included in the official results, but the printer issues caused frustration for many Election Day voters, something the Board has vowed to remedy.

“This report is exactly what we needed.  An unbiased analysis of what happened and a range of recommendations for what to do next,” said Vice Chairman Jack Sellers, District 1.  “Whether it’s replacing printers, using different paper, or changing the way we test equipment before an election, you can be sure our Board will take any steps necessary to ensure in-person voters have the experience they deserve in 2024.”

Ruth McGregor’s investigation determined the primary cause of the on-site tabulation issues was “equipment failure” by some of County’s Oki B432 printers, which had more difficulty with longer ballots (20 inches vs. 19 inches) printed on heavier paper (100 lb. vs 80 lb.).  This happened even though the same printers performed well in the August Primary Election and pre-November stress tests with 20-inch ballots on 100 lb. paper resulted in no problems. 

"I'm grateful for Justice McGregor's exhaustive investigative report,” said Supervisor Thomas Galvin, District 2. “I have always maintained that these failures were unacceptable, and we needed to address them and work on improvements. This report lays out how equipment failures were the main cause of the problems on Election Day. This report also notes how procedural matters should be bolstered to increase the likelihood of catching potential problems. I welcome and agree with that assessment. There are other potential policy solutions identified in the report that I believe are worth considering and discussing." 

The report recommends possibly replacing the Oki printers, going back to 80 lb. paper to print ballots, and more robust stress tests including testing at intervals rather than sequentially to better emulate Election Day.

“Continuous improvement is what we do at Maricopa County, so I welcome this report,” said Supervisor Bill Gates, District 3.  “It shows that two things can be true at the same time: our elections team prepared well for the 2022 General Election and had every reason to trust our procedures and equipment.  And yet, we can do better knowing what we know now.”

“I want to thank Justice McGregor and her team for their thoughtful approach and detailed testing,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5.  “No election is perfect; there are so many factors involved.  But that’s why you do post-election analysis—what went right, what went wrong—and then you fix what needs to be fixed.  When it comes to these printer issues, we’re going to do that, believe me.”

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