Righteous outrage builds over Arizona’s ‘national disgrace’ of a voting process

There is trouble on many fronts in Arizona, where officials are having issues counting votes. Yet collecting and counting votes is basically the full description of their job. Republicans are seeing red, as it were, and registering their outrage in interviews and on Twitter.

The problem receiving all the focus is in Maricopa County, which is the most populous county in the state. About 20% of the polling sites there reportedly had issues with tabulation machines reading ballots.

Believe it or not, the Maricopa County Supervisor’s name is Bill Gates. Gates’ crack team of vote counters estimated that about 7% of the votes in the county were affected – about 17,000 ballots.

The tabulators were not the real source of the problem, though. There was a printing “mishap” that prevented machines from reading them. The printers were not producing dark enough ink.

Gates apologized. Sorry about that.

“Apologized yesterday,” he said on Wednesday. “I will do it again today. What happened yesterday we cannot have a repeat of. We are already looking very closely at what happened. Obviously, our team was able to come up with a fix yesterday for what happened. So that allowed those votes centers to get back online. But again, we are going to do a deep dive on this. This board will get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and we will do what needs to be done.”

Gonna do a “deep dive.” Came up with “a fix.” That’s comforting. Normal people can’t see how this is some sort of rocket science. The ballots exist. Count them. The tabulation machines couldn’t read them, but people can. So, count the ballots. Easy peasy. How long should it take to count 17,000 ballots? Couldn’t five people do it in an hour?

How can the same people who are responsible for this utter failure be the ones in charge of picking up the pieces?

“There is no perfect election. Yesterday was not a perfect election,” said Gates. “We will learn from it and do better.”

Gates might not have heard about Florida’s election, which was pretty much perfect. This problem didn’t happen in Florida, because they have a simple process in place, and because election officials there are competent.

It is a challenge not to be cynical. There are something like 600,000 votes that still need to be counted. Just like a magician who misdirects your attention while he does something sneaky with his other hand, officials direct our attention to 17,000 votes while who knows what is happening with the larger tally?

Maricopa County officials estimated that there were about 400,000 votes left to count, about 275,000 of which came in on Election Day. These votes are sometimes called “late earlies” because they are mail-in ballots that were brought in on Election Day. Apparently, these cause delays in tabulation. Why? Who knows.

About 200,000 ballots are yet to be counted outside Maricopa County, mostly in Pima County, which includes Tucson.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who has been painted as a raving lunatic for her questions about the 2020 election, is perhaps at least slightly vindicated. Maricopa County has given more than sufficient cause for suspicion. Lake called the situation outrageous, especially after initial reports from the county on Tuesday showed her up 70-30. Yet, in the early evening, her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, was way up on Lake.

On Wednesday night, Lake appeared on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and said that her campaign would emerge victorious. “Trust me,” she said. And when she finally wins, she will be sworn in. After that, she will “take her hand off the Bible” and immediately revamp the state’s voting process so that nothing like this ever sullies Arizona’s reputation again.

“We need to get rid of these machines that are not reliable, and we’ve seen the kinds of problems they can cause,” Lake said. “We’re sick of being the embarrassment that Maricopa County has made us become and we won’t do another election like this.”

Another Republican, Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, tweeted, “Maricopa’s election systems are a national disgrace. We waited 24 hours and got a measly 62k votes. Even third world countries count faster than that.”

Finchem had also tweeted on Tuesday morning at 9:47 am, “Why is it always Maricopa?” It is a reasonable question.

The Republican candidate for attorney general, Abe Hamadeh, who trails Democrat Kris Mayer by 0.2 percent, was also critical of the situation and the people responsible.

“Arizona DESERVES results on Election Day,” Hamadeh tweeted. “This is an embarrassment. Maricopa County needs accountability.”

What has happened in Arizona is worse than embarrassing. It is chaotic and disgraceful, and it gives credibility to those who have been cynical about election integrity. It is worth remembering that as Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs is ultimately in charge of the election in Arizona. Considering what has happened here, it is inconceivable that she could win the job as governor after this terribly suspicious situation unfolded.


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