Heading into Election Day 2022, Maricopa County election worker Erin Smith was feeling cautiously optimistic about the administration of Arizona’s elections. With a motivated team of fellow election workers from all political backgrounds, a smoothly run election seemed like a real possibility.
But nothing could prepare Smith for what happened on Election Day.
“I was in Ukraine in March within a week of the war starting and … at no point was it ever as overwhelming as it was on Election Day in Maricopa,” Smith told The Federalist.
Within hours of polls opening in Arizona, election workers at roughly 30 percent of Maricopa’s voting centers began reporting that their respective vote tabulation machines were rejecting voters’ ballots, leading to long waiting lines and widespread confusion among voters and poll workers alike. While county officials ultimately determined the source of the problem to be misconfigured ballot printer settings, the chaos had already been set in stone.
“The energy instantly changed when the tabulators [stopped] working,” said Smith, who served as a troubleshooter for three of Maricopa’s voting centers. “[Voters were] righteously mad … it was just complete chaos.”