Heated reactions come after thousands of votes set aside for later counting after glitches in ballot tabulation process
Republican voters frustrated with Maricopa County’s handling of the midterm election blasted the county’s board of supervisors on Nov. 16 and called for a new election.
“I’m just disgusted by your behavior and the decisions that you’ve made. Look at all these people out here suffering so badly because of your falsehoods,” said Sheila Roberts of Phoenix during the board’s public comment portion.
While Roberts said she was “pretty frustrated” by the ballot tabulation process on election day, she wanted “transparency and truth” and to “look every one of you in the eyes.
“Please, think about what you’re doing. Represent all of us and make sure all these votes count,” Roberts said.
Matt Baker of Phoenix began shouting at board members when it was his turn to speak.
“Once again, the eyes of the world are upon Maricopa County for another botched election,” he said.
“Am I here to accuse you of stealing the vote? Heavens no. That would make me a terrorist, wouldn’t it?” Baker said, and then asked, “What is more valuable, your vote or your money?”
County election officials estimate that 20 percent of ballot tabulating equipment experienced problems on election day in the county.
Those uncounted ballots, numbering in excess of 17,000, that didn’t get read went into a separate box for later counting at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix. An estimated 25,000 ballots remained uncounted as of Nov. 14, according to Arizona’s secretary of state office.
‘We’re not going to have any outbursts’
At least a dozen speakers, mostly Republican, voiced their frustrations about problems with the county’s electoral process at Nov. 16’s board meeting. Most comments reflected a level of mistrust for the county’s electoral system not seen since the 2020 presidential election.
“It is important that we hear the comments from the people who would like to speak today. So I have chosen to put this on the agenda,” said Board of Supervisors chairman Bill Gates just before the live YouTube feed quit working.
“Everybody is going to be treated the same. Everyone will have the same time” with two minutes to speak, said Gates, laying the ground rules.
“Part and parcel of everything I’ve been saying is we’re not going to have any outbursts. We’re not going to laugh. We’re not going to clap. We’re going to comment and move on to the next person.”
Calling the election in Maricopa County a “sham,” Robert Canterbury of Phoenix said the county has become the “laughing stock of the nation.”
Canterbury said Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs should have recused herself rather than overseen her election as Arizona’s next governor.
“How many disenfranchised voters in this election won’t vote in the 2024 election because they know that the same people in charge of the last two elections will be in charge of that election?”
“It’s horrible what happened,” said Barbara Jennings of Phoenix. “Nobody trusts [now]. We’re supposed to believe that we have free and fair elections here [and] that we have honest media. Both we do not.”
Michelle Dillard of Phoenix said, “We can’t accept these results. This is an illegitimate election.”
“It is your job to provide the remedy. We want a secure, fair election. Make that happen.”
Jeff Caldwell told the board that he believes that many voters didn’t get to vote on election day, calling the election a “complete disaster.”
“How many voters just said ‘screw it,’ and left?”