The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has released their report on an “independent investigation” into 2022 Election Day tabulator failures across the County, led by former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor.
County Supervisor Clint Hickman and Chairman Bill Gates previously announced this investigation with a joint statement in January.
NEW: Former AZ Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor will lead independent investigation into Election Day printer issues. We look forward to her findings. Statement pic.twitter.com/mOhkWideou
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) January 6, 2023
During their investigation, investigators interviewed multiple employees of Maricopa County and Runbeck Election Services, including Maricopa County Election Director Scott Jarrett. They did not interview any opposing parties or voters who experienced issues on election day to get the true story.
Remember, Scott Jarrett testified in Kari Lake’s election trial that he “did not” hear of any reports of a 19-inch ballot image being placed on a 20-inch ballot paper. He claimed to have “no knowledge” of this occurring and stated, “I don’t believe that that occurred.” He then changed his testimony the next day to state that he learned of a fit-to-paper issue “a few days after Election Day” that printed “a slightly smaller image of a 20-inch image on a 20-inch paper ballot.”
Though he refused to confirm that it was a 19-inch image on a 20-inch ballot paper and simply claimed the image used was “slightly smaller,” Maricopa County’s report seems to confirm that it was a 19-inch image due to the changes made before the General Election.
According to the report, ballots were “increased in length from 19 inches to 20 inches to accommodate the number of contests.” The report further states that “ballots were re-sized as ‘fit to page,’ a process that entirely changed the location of the timing marks on the ballots and assured that neither the on-site tabulators nor the central count tabulators could read the ballots.” Still, they “could not determine” how this change was made, and therefore, whether or not it was intentional sabotage.
Jarrett also confirmed that this fit-to-paper or “fit to page” printing issue “happened in the August 2020 primary election, the November 2020 general election, and the August 2022 primary election.” However, the new report claims that the printers “had been used during the August 2022 primary election, as well as in prior elections, without experiencing similar problems.”
Despite reporting that 60 voting locations were visited for the printing issues described above and that “approximately 70” voting locations were visited for separate issues relating to flaking or speckling of ink on ballots, potentially equaling over 50% of locations, the report concludes that two-thirds of the general election vote centers reported no issues with misprinted ballots.
The report blames the “sharpiegate” ink bleed-through scandal for an increase in paper weight and the increase in ballot paper length for the errors that occurred by forcing printers to “perform at the extreme edge of their capability.” Still, they conclude that the increase in paper weight was likely not a necessary change, as Maricopa County did away with the sharpie markers given to voters at polling centers.
One concerning factor of this report states that Oki B432 printers “showed speckling at the edge of the ballot” during pre-election stress testing, which could have interfered with the timing marks on ballots. Despite this discovery being made in September 2022, Maricopa County moved forward anyway.
Footnote 12 of the report also states that onsight tabulators were not even tested for this issue. “Some of the workers noted flaking or speckling on some ballots and brought it to the attention of supervisors. Because the central tabulators read all ballots, however, the issue was not regarded as affecting the ability to count all ballots and no testing was done using on-site tabulators,” they admit. The report continues, “Whether such testing would have detected the problem experienced on general election day cannot now be determined.”
Regardless, Maricopa County failed to prepare for this election and they must be held accountable for this crime.
From the report:
Most of the printers had been used during the August 2022 primary election, as well as in prior elections, without experiencing similar problems.
Based on our tests, and for the reasons described in this report, we concluded that the combined effect of using 100-pound ballot paper and a 20- inch ballot during the 2022 general election was to require that the Oki B432 printers perform at the extreme edge of their capability, a level that could not be reliably sustained by a substantial number of printers. Although we further concluded that nothing in the printers’ past performance or pre-election stress testing indicated that such a failure was likely, we recommend several alternative approaches that could minimize the likelihood of a similar failure in future elections, including the use of more robust stress testing designed to mimic on- site circumstances.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) retained me to conduct a focused, fact-specific independent review to determine why printers that performed successfully during the primary election evidenced problems during the general election.
Although we further concluded that nothing in the printers’ past performance or pre-election stress testing indicated that such a failure was likely, we recommend several alternative approaches that could minimize the likelihood of a similar failure in future elections, including the use of more robust stress testing designed to mimic on- site circumstances.
During the 2022 August primary and November general elections, the County used the retrofitted Oki B432 and the Lexmark C4150 BOD printers at the vote centers. These printers had updated firmware and were installed with uniform settings that were the same settings as those used in the 2020 August primary and November general elections.
During the 2022 general election, Maricopa County increased the ballot length from 19 inches, which was used for the primary election ballot, to 20 inches.
the MCED concluded that the Oki and Lexmark printers would function effectively with the change to 100-pound paper. And, during the primary election, the on-site tabulators did successfully process more than 100,000 ballots.
In September 2022, prior to the November general election, the MCED conducted an extensive stress test on the Oki B432 and Lexmark C4150 BOD printers. The Department randomly selected four Oki and four Lexmark printers for testing. Two tests used 100-pound paper and a ballot that was increased in length from 19 inches to 20 inches to accommodate the number of contests, the number of propositions, and the Spanish translations. In the first test, one hundred double-sided ballots were run through each test machine without the envelope or receipt. In the second test, the same number of ballots were run, along with an envelope and receipt. In both tests, the prints were run sequentially, but not intermittently. The media weight settings on the Oki printers were set to heavy for the ballot and medium for the envelope and receipt. The media weight was set to normal on the Lexmark printers for all three settings. The results indicated that two of the Oki printers showed speckling at the edge of the ballot, but that the actual ballot page was clear and not damaged as to the ballot’s overall integrity.
In light of the successful primary election experience using 100-pound ballot paper and its additional tests, the Department concluded that the Oki and Lexmark printers would successfully print the new 100-pound, 20-inch ballot in the general election.
Scott Jarrett, Maricopa County Co-Director of Elections, and the vote center manager decide which printers are assigned to each vote center location. In making the assignments, they consider the size of the room, because Lexmark printers are larger than the Oki printers, as well as historic voter turnout. In general, then, they assign the Lexmark printers to the vote centers that are open for the most days for early voting, have sufficient space to accommodate the Lexmark printers, and traditionally experience heavy voter participation.
Beginning almost immediately on the morning of election day, the MCTEC command center received calls from poll workers reporting that some of the tabulators were not accepting ballots. Each call was memorialized as an Election Reporting System (ERS) ticket by the person receiving the call. If an issue could not be resolved by advice from the command center, a t-tech or Runbeck employee went to the affected vote center to attempt to resolve the reported problem. Runbeck and County technical workers travelled to approximately 70 vote centers to troubleshoot the reports of problems with the BOD printers.
At the outset, Maricopa County and Runbeck identified the cause of the reported problem as being either the on-site tabulators or the BOD printers. As t- techs and Runbeck personnel had more opportunities to examine the problematic ballots, it became clear that the ballots in question could not be read by the tabulator because the print was not properly adhering to the ballot. As a result, some print flaked off, leaving the timing marks needed for the tabulator to record the ballot too faint to serve their purpose.
After consultation among Maricopa County and Runbeck personnel, the County concluded that the printing issue was being caused by a failure of the printer fuser to maintain a heat sufficient to fuse the toner onto the paper.
Another printing anomaly occurred at several vote centers, where ballots were re-sized as “fit to page,” a process that entirely changed the location of the timing marks on the ballots and assured that neither the on-site tabulators nor the central count tabulators could read the ballots. We could not determine whether this change resulted from a technician attempting to correct the printing issues, the most probable source of change, or a problem internal to the printers. During our testing, four printers randomly printed one or a few “fit to page” ballots in the middle of printing a batch of ballots. None of the technical people with whom we spoke could explain how or why that error occurred.
Maricopa County identified approximately 60 vote centers that experienced the printer problems described above.
Maricopa County could not determine which printer caused problems at each site. Hence, if a vote center experienced problems, workers were instructed to change the media weight settings on all printers at that site.
During the time required for the fuser to recover to optimal heat after idling, the printer could experience an inability to properly fuse the toner to the paper, which in turn would result in the flaking and speckling observed on some of the printed ballots.
As explained below, the weight of the paper had the greatest impact on printer failures in our tests and printer failures were greatest when 100-pound paper was used with a 20-inch ballot.
Maricopa County printed its ballots on 80-pound paper for the 2020 primary and general elections. During those elections, MCTEC received no reports of flaking that caused misprinted ballots.
The test results indicate that the changes made to increase the media weight and to change the media type had some impact in reducing the number of faulty ballots, but in no instance did either change eliminate the problem. In some cases, the change in settings actually resulted in an increase in faulty ballots.
Although most of our test printers produced faulty ballots, it is important to keep in mind the fact that, on general election day, the large majority of Oki B432 printers performed well and produced few faulty ballots. Two-thirds of the general election vote centers reported no issues with misprinted ballots.
The combined effect of the heavy paper, longer ballot, and intermittent burst of print demand pushed the printers to perform at the very edge of or past their capability, so that any decrease in fuser performance in an individual printer could result in problems.
Our test experience with the pens used during the 2022 general election and 80-pound paper suggests that bleed-through would not be a problem, although additional testing designed to evaluate that factor would be advantageous.
Kari Lake, whose election was stolen through these failures and other law violations, tweeted her statement on this “unserious” investigation and slammed the conflicting statements between trial testimony and this report.
My statement on Maricopa County’s sham internal investigation on the printers they sabotaged on Election Day pic.twitter.com/JAt4aFArIN
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) April 12, 2023
Read the full report below:
Maricopa County 2022 General Election Ballot-on-Demand Printer Investigation by Jordan Conradson on Scribd
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