Politico

Republicans sue to keep polls open longer in Arizona’s largest county

Republicans have filed a lawsuit to keep polls open in Arizona’s largest county after some ballot tabulation scanners suffered glitches earlier in the day.

The campaigns for Senate candidate Blake Masters and gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — along with the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and an individual voter — filed an emergency suit in state court Tuesday looking to keep the polls open in Maricopa County until 10 p.m. local time, an additional three hours.

The suit comes after widespread reports of glitchy ballot scanners where some machines were not reading ballots. Local election officials have stressed that the glitchy tabulators did not compromise the integrity of the vote.

Earlier in the day, election officials said that as many as 20 percent of the more than 200 polling places in the county had at least one tabulator that was not functioning properly. The lawsuit asserts that that number was even higher, saying 36 percent of voting centers had problems, which “burdened voters with excessive delays and long lines.”

Bill Gates, the Republican chair of the county board of supervisors, tweeted earlier in the day that voters still had options to vote, even with the glitchy tabulators, and that they were not being disenfranchised.

Namely, voters could drop their ballots in a secure box at polling places, and those ballots would be tabulated at a central counting location instead of at the voting site. (Early votes in Maricopa are counted this way.) Voters could have also waited for tabulators to become operational, Gates suggested, or go to an unaffected polling center.

Earlier in the evening, Maricopa County tweeted that the problem appeared to be that printers were not producing dark enough marks on ballots and that they were deploying a fix.

Voters who are in line when polls close, regardless of when that eventually is, will also be allowed to vote.

A spokesperson for Maricopa County did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, nor did the campaigns of Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) or Katie Hobbs, who is facing Lake in the open governor’s race. (Hobbs is also the state’s chief election official as secretary of state. The tabulators are the responsibility of county officials, and she is not a named party in the suit in her official capacity.)

Across the country, there have been a handful of jurisdictions that have already seen their hours extended — a common occurrence in every election.

A judge in Pennsylvania ordered polls be kept open in Luzerne County for two additional two hours after election officials ran out of paper earlier in the day. There were a handful of shorter court-ordered extensions in specific precincts in Georgia and Virginia, and the state board of elections in North Carolina has also extended time for specific voting locations.

Josh Gerstein contributed to this report

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