It was reported during the midterm election that tabulator machines were malfunctioning at 20 percent of the election centers in Maricopa County, Arizona prompting Republican organizations to request a 3-hour extension of the voting deadline that was rejected by the judge that heard the request at an emergency hearing. Now, an election judge, Michele Swinick, has come forward saying that she believes the machines were programmed to malfunction on election day as they worked “perfectly” when tested the night before the midterms.
Swinick worked at the Islamic Center voting location in a mostly Republican district. According to Swinick, the tabulator machines worked as expected when they were tested the evening before the election, but then malfunctioned on election day only accepting 1 out of 10 ballots that were tabulated. Election officials were instructed to put the remaining ballots into a separate section referred to as “Door 3.”
Swinick’s district in Scottsdale, AZ is mostly Republican followed by “no party” affiliation voters with a very small number of Democrats. Given that her district was mostly Republican and that the tabulator machines worked flawlessly when tested the night before the election, Swinick believes that the disruption was planned and that the machines were programmed to be defective. The scanning errors began when the first ballots were processed. Voters attempted to scan their ballots 4 to 12 times with very little success. It was estimated by Swinick and other poll workers that only 1 in 10 ballots was successfully tabulated during the first 3 hours of voting.
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When the tabulator machines malfunctioned, voters were given the option to either mark their ballot void and try again with a new ballot or they could drop their ballot into the “Door 3” box. The box is not meant to be emptied until the polls close, but due to the volume of ballots being forced into the box, causing it to jam, election officials had to empty the ballots in the “Door 3” box 3 times during the early afternoon hours of the election.
A technician for the tabulator machines arrived at Swinick’s voting center between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. MT and the machines were rebooted with no additional issues reported after the visit from the technician. Another poll worker told Swinick, “Everything is now going smoothly with the tabulators.”
While it is normal procedure for unread ballots to be run through a tabulator one more time at a voting center before being sent to a tabulation center to be counted, that did not happen at Swinick’s center. Instead, the offsite supervisor for Swinick’s location instructed that the “door 3” ballots that had not been accepted by the tabulator be placed in a black bag labeled as “misreads” and then sent to a tabulation center without ever attempting to run the misread ballots through the rebooted, functioning tabulators as is the procedure.
Swinick not only spoke out about the tabulation issues but also about a county website that was meant to let voters know the status of their votes. According to Swinick, the website appears to be using voters’ “check-in” to register their vote as tabulated, instead of using the actual tabulation of the votes that should have occurred.
The evidence of the check-in tabulation of votes on the website is validated by what happened when Swinick’s roommate visited the site to check the status of his vote. Swinick told Uncoverdc, “My roommate ran his ballot through the tabulators 15 times as one of the 1st voters at the Islamic Center. It did not read the ballot. He was forced to drop it in door #3.” Swinick continued, “About an hour after I arrived home at 9 pm MT, my roommate checked the website to see if his vote had been counted. The website reported it was. It is mathematically impossible for his vote to have been counted by then since only an hour before, I left the center, and the ballots had not been taken from the center to the meeting point where the ballots are hand exchanged to another transport team, which takes them to the tabulation center. For his ballot to have been counted, it would have also needed to be sorted and hand-counted by a team at that center and reported into the website – all within that hour.”
Unfortunately, the malfunctioning tabulators in Maricopa County are not the only instance of machine malfunctions that occurred during the elections. In a district in East Tennessee, a voting center reported having only one operational printer which led to a line around the building with voters waiting 1.5 hours to vote once they entered the building. In Mercer County, New Jersey every single Dominion voting machine in the county malfunctioned on election day, forcing voters to use paper ballots and driving up wait times. Issues were also reported in Alameda County, California, and in Georgia.