Fact Check: Tabulator Trouble In Maricopa County Was NOT Proof Of Voter Fraud

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Tabulator Trouble In Maricopa County Was NOT Proof Of Voter Fraud Secure Box

Was the fact that Maricopa County, Arizona, experienced trouble with some of its tabulators early on Election Day proof of voter fraud? No, that's not true: There was a back-up plan in place to make sure every vote was counted. In the case of a problem with a precinct tabulator, a voter could place his or her ballot in a secure box, where the ballot was to be kept until it was counted, according to county election officials.

The claim appeared in a tweet (archived here) published on November 8, 2022. The tweet read:

Real time steal. Voting machines in Maricopa County, Arizona are 'misreading' ballots. The Dems just won't quit. Voter fraud is all they have.

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue Nov 8 17:03:48 2022 UTC)

Election officials in Maricopa County -- Arizona's most populous county -- confirmed early on Election Day (November 8, 2022) that they were having trouble with some of their tabulators. In a video posted to Twitter, Bill Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said the following:

We've already had almost 44,000 people show up this morning, check in and be available to vote. And things are going great out there, but there's one thing that we wanted to address ... and that has to do with our tabulators. We've got about 20% of the locations out there where there's an issue with the tabulator, where some of the ballots -- that after people have voted them -- they try to run them through the tabulator and they're not going through.

Evidence of issues with tabulators, however, does not constitute proof of voter fraud, or -- as the post claims -- of a "real time steal." Gates assured voters that staff was working to resolve the problem and that there was a back-up plan to make sure every vote is counted. He continued:

We're trying to fix this problem as quickly as possible and we also have a redundancy in place. If you can't put the ballot in the tabulator, then you can simply place it here -- see the No.3 -- and this is a secure box where those ballots will be kept for later this evening where we'll bring them in here to central count to tabulate them.

You can watch his full video below:

Gates' comments were echoed by the Maricopa County Elections Department. In an email to Lead Stories, dated November 8, 2022, spokeswoman Amy Bolton wrote:

People can still check in and then vote their ballot at the voting booth. Once complete, they can insert their ballot in the secure slot on the ballot box where it will be counted at the Tabulation and Election Center.

She said the cause of the tabulator trouble was under investigation.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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