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Former Arizona Supreme Court justice to spearhead inquiry into ballot printer debacle

Members of the Arizona Supreme Court, from left, Justice Michael D. Ryan, Vice Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor, Chief Justice Charles E. Jones, Justice Rebecca White Berch and Justice Andrew D. Hurwitz, hear arguments Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003. MATT YORK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Arizona Supreme Court justice to spearhead inquiry into ballot printer debacle

Ryan King

January 06, 07:26 PM January 06, 07:26 PM

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Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor will spearhead an investigation into a ballot printing mishap in the Phoenix area during the 2022 midterm elections.

McGregor will establish a team of experts to ascertain why printers in the area managed to produce ballots during the state’s primaries in August without major defects but struggled with some ballots in the general election “using the same settings,” the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors announced Friday.

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“This Board of Supervisors has always been committed to continuous improvement. When things don’t work, we find out why. Today we are announcing an important step in our efforts to get to the bottom of the printer issues that affected some Vote Centers,” the board said in a statement.

Faulty printers created ballots that were too light to be processed by some tabulators and caused backups at polling places on general election night. Despite problems with the ballots, the county has underscored that all votes were counted, and everyone who stayed in line at polling places was given the opportunity to vote.

McGregor previously led a 2019 investigation into state prison cell doors, according to the board. She had been appointed to the high court in the state by Republican Gov. Jane Hull in 1998 before stepping down in 2009.

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“Maricopa County appreciates Justice McGregor’s willingness to serve in this role. We look forward to her findings,” the county added. “Our voters deserve nothing less.”

Maricopa County contains 60% of Arizona’s voters and has been a hotbed for election denial in the past due to prior election snags. Onetime Arizona Republican gubernatorial contender Kari Lake has cited Maricopa County election woes in her attempt to overturn her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs, but so far, courts have roundly rejected her efforts.

The county has vehemently denied accusations of malfeasance or allegations that its election oversight altered outcomes.

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