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Ex-Arizona Supreme Court judge to probe ballot printer issue

Associated Press | Matt York

A former Arizona Supreme Court judge will lead an independent investigation into how ballot printers at Phoenix-area polling sites became defective, sparking Election Day chaos and accusations of misconduct from Republican candidates.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors announced in a joint statement Friday that former Chief Justice Ruth McGregor will oversee the probe.

“When things don’t work, we find out why. Today we are announcing an important step in our efforts to get to the bottom of the printer issues that affected some Vote Centers on Election Day last November,” Board Chairman Bill Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman wrote.

McGregor will hire experts to examine the printers and the ballot-reading process. McGregor previously supervised a 2019 inquiry into issues around locks on state prison cell doors.

On Nov. 8, faulty printers produced ballots that were too light to be read by on-site tabulators at some polling places in Maricopa County. Lines backed up in some areas amid the confusion.

The county is home to more than 60% of Arizona’s voters.

County officials say everyone had a chance to vote and all ballots were counted, since ballots affected by the printers were taken to more sophisticated counters at the elections department headquarters.

The printer problems were the focus of arguments in lawsuits from Kari Lake and Abraham Hamadeh, who lost the races for governor and attorney general, respectively.