Fact-check: Tucker Carlson wrong about people not being able to vote in Arizona's Maricopa County

Fact-check: Tucker Carlson wrong about people not being able to vote in Arizona's Maricopa County


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  • Vote counting machines at about 60 vote centers in Maricopa County temporarily stopped processing ballots Tuesday morning.
  • Voters had the immediate option to place their ballot in a slot in the same machine to be counted later.
  • There were reports of frustrated and irritated voters, but no accounts that anyone who wanted to vote couldn’t.

See the sources for this fact-check


An Election Day glitch in machines called tabulators disrupted voting at about 60 vote centers in Arizona’s most populous county.

The last step for voters after filling out their ballots is to feed them into a tabulator, which pulls them inside, which optical scanners record each vote.

In about a quarter of the county’s polling locations, the machines took only some ballots; some stopped taking any.

That evening, Fox News host Tucker Carlson warned that in a close election, the public needs to have confidence in the entire voting process. And in Maricopa County, that broke down, he claimed.

“Electronic voting machines didn’t allow people to vote, apparently,” Carlson said Tuesday night.

That’s incorrect.

Speaking at about 2 p.m., Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates, a Republican, said the problem had been fixed at 17 centers and that work was underway at the rest. Gates said no voter was turned away.

“People were still able to vote, it was just a matter of maybe not voting in the way they wanted to,” Gates said.

Earlier in the day, Gates had stood by one of the tabulators and explained why the issue wouldn’t prevent anyone from voting. The problem was with printers that churn out ballots on demand. They didn’t print a dark enough time code, and without that, the tabulators wouldn’t accept the ballot.

People could leave and vote at the closest poll that had no issues. They could also try until the machine cooperated or put their ballots in a slot on the side of the machine.

“You can simply place it here — you see the No. 3 — and this is a secure box where those ballots will be kept for later this evening, when we’ll bring them into Central Count to tabulate them,” Gates said.

The county elections department tweeted the same guidance in the afternoon.


“If a tabulator is not working at a site, you can still vote! You have the option to cast your ballot and place it into the secure ballot box. The poll workers on site at the voting location are best equipped to help you.”

By about 4 p.m. local time, technicians had fixed the settings on nearly all the printers.At about the same time, roughly half the county’s polling centers had no wait times.

There were reports of frustrated and irritated voters, but no accounts that anyone who wanted to vote couldn’t.

The Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and others filed a lawsuit to keep the polls open beyond 7 p.m. — when polls were scheduled to close. A Superior Court judge in Maricopa County denied the request, saying there was no evidence that voters were disenfranchised.

We reached out to Fox News and did not hear back.

Our ruling

Carlson said “electronic voting machines didn’t allow people to vote” in Maricopa County.

We found no reports about people not being allowed to vote.

Voters who encountered glitchy tabulators could immediately place their ballots in a slot in the same machine to be counted later. If they didn’t like that option, they could be checked out of that polling place, go to one that had no waiting time, and vote there.

Carlson’s statement lacks evidence.

We rate it False.


OUR SOURCES

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