Justice McGregor discusses investigation over printer issues regarding election

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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. The former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice joins Ted to discuss the investigation.

“We were asked to look at why there were printer problems on the general election day in Maricopa County, what were the causes or potential causes, why they happened on general election day but then not happen during the primary, and basically what can be done to prevent those problems in the future,” said McGregor.

The investigation was part of a push by Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman after nearly a quarter of the Election Day voting centers had issues with tabulating or printing ballots.

According to McGregor, the investigation was conducted on a sample of 12 printers from the primary and general elections. Ten were Oki printers, which were alleged to have experienced issues, and two were Lexmark printers. Nine thousand one hundred ballots were run through the machines. The results were then tabulated to determine where and why issues occurred.

“We looked at a number of things that could have caused the problem, but there were really two things: one was the weight of the paper,” said McGregor. “The other main change that occurred between the primary and the general election was that the county had to go from a 19 inch ballot to a 20 inch ballot.”

Investigators wrote that earlier stress testing indicated no issues on those types of ballots. The report details extensive steps in trying to reproduce the problem and looked at how printer configurations caused problems to plague many voting locations. Some of those findings included seeing that some older printers could not maintain the heat required to print ballots dark enough to be properly read by the on-site tabulators.

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