PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) - The Department of Homeland Security says the 2020 election was the most secure election in American history. Though there are no credible reports of fraud, 3 On Your Side uncovered nearly 200 complaints from Arizona voters about the Nov. 3 election, including allegations of voter intimidation on both sides of the ballot.
One voter told the Arizona Secretary of State's office there was “a group of people open carrying and displaying firearms within 30 feet of the polling location... waiving Trump flags and yelling.”
Another voter reported that "there were approximately 40-50 people wearing "Flip AZ blue" and "gavel watch" t-shirts blocking the entrance to the parking lot” of a polling place.
Both incidents happened in Maricopa County, and in both cases, the voters said they were scared.
Tammy Patrick, the senior advisor of elections for the non-partisan Democracy Fund. She is also a former Maricopa County elections official.
"One of the most critical elements is whether or not voters feel safe," Patrick said. "These sorts of activities do occur on occasion. They need to be investigated. We need to make sure our voters are protected."
According to records 3 On Your Side requested from the Secretary of State's office, Arizona voters filed 187 complaints about early ballots and incidents that happened at polling places. That means just a fraction of a percent of the more 3.4 million voters who cast a ballot in the state reported a problem.
"I think when we look at how many voters participated in this election, the number of complaints is relatively small," Patrick said. "But really, any complaint is too many complaints."
The complaints include a couple printer problems, a handful of Sharpie concerns, and a frustrated caller who had volunteered to be a poll worker but was not chosen for the job. There were also several complaints about electioneering near polling places.
"In all of these cases, when a complaint comes in, they all have to be investigated to make sure there isn’t any form of malfeasance," Patrick said. "I’ve done those investigations on complaints just like this when in was in Arizona, and I will tell you, it was very rare that we had anything actually come to fruition of a situation that did violate the Help America Vote Act."
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs refused to be interviewed by 3 On Your Side for this report. Her spokesperson, Sophia Solis, emailed a statement instead.
"Many of the issues we receive involve voter misinformation. In these situations, our office will provide the voter with accurate information about Arizona's election process," Solis wrote.
"The Secretary of State's office takes voter intimidation very, very seriously. Running up to the election, we worked to prepare voters, law enforcement and election workers," Solis added.
3 On Your Side attempted to compare the number of complaints lodged this year to previous presidential elections, but Solis said the office implemented a new system to track complaints and does not have information about how the previous Secretary of State, Michele Reagan, documented election issues. Reagan also declined our request for an interview.
Complaints about elections can be filed anytime over the phone, via email, or through an online web form. Concerns that are specific to a voting location are forwarded to county officials to investigate, while fraud complaints are passed along to the Attorney General's office, according to Solis. As Arizona's Family has reported, there have been no credible reports of fraud.