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'We hope to make this the most transparent election ever': Maricopa County elections officials ensure safe, accurate election

Elections officials are trying to get in front of any misinformation by providing weekly updates through Election Day.

ARIZONA, USA — Arizona is less than a month away from the general election, and early voting is already underway. Close to two million early ballots were mailed out this week in Maricopa County.

Elections officials are trying to get in front of any misinformation by providing weekly updates through Election Day.

“We hope to make this the most transparent election ever," said Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer.

During a briefing on Thursday, officials responded to those who have raised concerns about voting equipment being hacked.

In Arizona, nearly all votes are cast by hand on paper. The only exception is for accessible voting devices used by those needing audio, visual or ambulatory assistance. Those devices have a screen that will mark a paper ballot. 

Richer said they were used by less than 500 people in the 2020 election.

As for the tabulation machines, officials say the equipment is federally and state certified. It's also tested before and after the election. In addition, there is a post-election hand count audit done by political parties. 

“Just on Tuesday, we completed the successful logic and accuracy test, and that’s witnessed by all the political parties, and it demonstrates that our tabulation machines are going to count the ballots accurately," said Bill Gates, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

On Twitter, Richer noted Maricopa County had won every one of the 24 court filings since the 2020 election that challenged its accuracy or integrity.

“We can’t run these elections without members of all the political parties. They are part of it. So for those who suggest that the 2020 election was rigged or those might be rigged in the future, that means that many members of their own party were part of that rigging. That’s one of the reasons why I know that never happened," Gates said.

Richer said he knew of a group in Mesa near one of the county's two outdoor ballot drop boxes. The group is allegedly conducting surveillance.

Richer stated both drop boxes have live stream cameras.

“Any attempt to deter to intimidate a lawful voter is unlawful, and that should be immediately reported," Richer said.

As for which pens to use, officials say if you are voting early, use any pen you want because there is plenty of time for it to dry.

If you plan on voting in person on Election Day, use the pen provided to you.

“Those mini tabulators get along better with felt tip pens that dry quickly, so that’s really the only reason," Richer explained.

The deadline to request an early ballot is October 28 by 5 p.m. You can do so at request.maricopa.vote.

Decision 2022

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