EXPLAINER: Why did Arizona have voting slowdowns?

WASHINGTON (AP) — There were some voting slowdowns Tuesday in Arizona, where races for governor and Senate are among the most closely watched contests of this year’s midterm elections.

So what happened? And will every vote be counted?


Most voting in Arizona happens by mail. But voters can go to any vote center location to cast their ballots. When voters check in, they get a ballot for their specific precinct, with available races printed out. Voters fill out the ballot and put it into a tabulation machine to be counted.

Ever print something and it comes out fainter than you wanted? On Tuesday in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, some of the tabulators did not read the ballots because the printers did not produce what are known as “timing marks” — which tell ballot scanners voter information, so choices can be tabulated — dark enough to be detected by the machines.

Voters who had their ballots rejected were told they could try the location’s second tabulator, put it in a ballot box to be counted at the central facility later, or cancel it and go to another vote center.


About a quarter of Maricopa County’s polling places — 60 of 223 vote centers — experienced this issue. It wasn’t clear precisely how many ballots were affected.

About 4.5 million people live in the sprawling city of Phoenix, and about 2.4 million are registered voters. More than 80% cast their ballots early, most by mail, and the county said about 230,000 had voted in person by about an hour before polls closed.


Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Ryan denied a request from Republicans to keep the polls open, saying he didn’t see evidence that people were not allowed to vote.

The county supervisor, Republican Bill Gates, apologized after polls closed but said every vote would be counted. Officials did acknowledge many of those votes wouldn’t be counted until Wednesday.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. And learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections.

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