Republicans Are Spreading Election Disinformation in Maricopa County—Again

Guadalupe residents sit outside a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Guadalupe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

By Jessica Swarner

November 8, 2022

“Everyone is still getting to vote. No one is being disenfranchised.” 

Republicans wasted no time Tuesday spreading false information about voting in Maricopa County. 

Charlie Kirk, founder and president of right-wing activist organization Turning Point USA, made two false claims in one of his tweets

Kirk falsely said there was a two-hour minimum wait at most Maricopa County polling places. A check of the county elections department website showed the vast majority of sites were under one hour wait, with many showing no wait time at all. As of just before 1 p.m., only three polling centers had a wait time of 60 minutes or more. Anyone can view wait times at polling centers here

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know to Vote in Arizona in November

Polling centers will be open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Anyone in line by then will be able to cast their vote. 

Kirk also falsely stated that Democrats run elections in Maricopa County. While Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is a Democrat, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is majority Republican, and Recorder Stephen Richer is a Republican. 

Kirk’s tweet containing both inaccuracies was retweeted nearly 4,000 times within two hours. 

Technological Issues Not Blocking Access

Technological issues with about 20% of tabulating machines in the county also served as the basis for conspiracy theories. 

The county explained that voters could still fill out their ballots at the polling centers with faulty machines—election workers would just take the ballots to another center to be tabulated. 

Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, unfairly cast doubt on the election process, warning people not to put their ballots in “Box 3.” This refers to a video in which a poll worker asks voters to place their ballots in a box to be manually counted or taken to another machine. 

RELATED: Maricopa County Sees Widespread Problems With Ballot Tabulators on Election Day. But Votes Will Still Be Counted.

Ward also said people who checked in to vote at a polling center with a tabulator that isn’t working have to stay there to vote. This is incorrect—a voter can ask a poll worker to check them out, and the voter can then go to another polling center to vote if they wish.

“Everyone is still getting to vote,” Maricopa County Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates—a Republican—said. “No one is being disenfranchised. And we have redundancies in place.”

An issue with a tabulator at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix turned out to be due to a password entered incorrectly too many times. 

The county announced just after 2 p.m. a solution had been identified for other machines and workers were being deployed to adjust printer settings and resolve the problem. 

Republicans Are Spreading Election Disinformation in Maricopa County—Again
screenshot of an email from Maricopa County

Logistical and technological snags during Election Day are nothing new. 

In 2016, some voters waited up to five hours to vote in Maricopa County due to budget cuts and a reduced number of polling locations. This happened under Republican Recorder Helen Purcell. 

In 2018, under Democratic Recorder Adrian Fontes, some voters faced long lines due to locations being locked when workers arrived and computer issues. 

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  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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