Poll worker explains how Maricopa County printer issues led to confusion at some voting sites

One poll worker said the news of the issues across Maricopa County sparked panic, leaving voters thinking their votes wouldn't be counted.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 5:57 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Printer issues at a couple dozen voting centers sparked widespread rumors on social media. Still, the county continues reassuring voters every legal vote will be counted. However, some poll workers say the machine debacle did cause some confusion.

In the morning and early afternoon of Election Day, voters reported long lines at polling locations across the Valley. “Around us we had the Surprise Civic Center and that was a long wait, it was two hours for most people,” said Calli Jones, who works with the Arizona Senate Democratic Caucus.

Tuesday, she was a poll marshal and told us her polling location, Dysart Community Center, ran smoothly. “On Tuesday, we did not necessarily run into any of the major problems we were hearing about,” she said.

Initially, issues were being reported at 60 voting locations in Maricopa County. Election officials believed there were problems with the tabulation machines not accepting ballots, eventually discovering the problem was actually a printer setting. They found the printers were not producing dark enough ink to be read by the tabulators. “People were worried that tabulators weren’t working. They were hearing from either people running for office, currently in office, that the tabulators were giving misreads, and they weren’t right. And ours were running just fine all day, so we were trying to reassure voters,” she said.

Tuesday was Jones’ third time voting in an election, but her first time being an election worker. “My voting lifetime has been very hectic, we’ve seen people question the legitimacy of our elections. I figured, you can’t complain if you don’t take part,” she said.

She says the vast majority of poll workers step up to ensure that elections are safe and fair. A sentiment also shared by Arizona Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones. “Our election workers are heroes, and we are so thankful for all the people who stepped up yesterday and worked very long hours at all of our polling locations across the state,” she said.

Several Republican politicians argued that problems at voting sites would hurt their candidates, who had advised supporters to vote in person because of distrust of mail-in ballots. However, Stephen Richer, the County Recorder, did not prevent voters from casting ballots.