Gila County Voting Tabulators
By Steve Otto
The Arizona Republican Party held its annual convention Saturday, January 28, 2023 in Phoenix. I am a Republican State Committee delegate for a third term and very interested in the whole voter integrity debate. Gila County Director of Elections, Eric Mariscal brought Gila County’s ballot tabulator machines to conduct the elections for state officers, bylaws and resolutions and I volunteered to man a tabulator.
I received an hour training as to the use of the equipment and the procedures for handling ballots. The process began with open ballot storage boxes and the opportunity for any delegate to check emptiness. Step 2, the lids were lowered and the ballot boxes were locked. Step 3, the tabulators were removed from transport bags and slid into slots on top of the ballot box where I attached the power cords. Some delegates checked out the tabulators with cell phones in hand looking for internet connection; there were none. Step 4, the machines were programmed with the candidates and write in lines. A zero tape was run to show every position on the ballot was zero. There were 2 folks per machine and we each had to sign the zero tape and verify the tabulator counter was zero. Step 5, feed ballots through. My station did 228 for candidates and 320 for resolutions. There was no reason for the count to be the same. Folks just went to the machine with the shortest line. Step 6, voting closed and a red finish marker was run through the tabulator. Two count tapes were run and each had to be signed twice. Eric Mariscal kept one and the other went in a box with the ballots. Both of us working the tabulator emptied the ballots into a special box, labeled the box with tabulator identifier and ballot number and signed the boxes. Step 7, a marshal put seals on the boxes and they were stacked on stage.
I laid out the entire process to indicate the issues that happened in Maricopa County weren’t accidental, there should never be two sizes of paper at an election site, IDs should be checked to receive a ballot, and the ballots should never be handled without signing and noting chain of custody.
Every delegate was given all of their ballots when they showed ID during the credentialing process, they showed their ID and badge when the came to the tabulator.
My takeaway from a day working the election process is that the Maricopa County voting issues are corruption driven and have nothing to do with electronic vote tabulators. Arizona elections need to get back to in person precinct voting with full chain of custody recording. Early voting can be allowed but it needs to be in person as well with the voter having appropriate ID, and ballots secured.
I had to show my ID and credentials to handle any ballots and that was for races far less important than who runs the state of Arizona.
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