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After Maricopa County experienced some early Election Day glitches, conservative commentator Charlie Kirk suggested the complications were part of a bigger plot.
“Maricopa County intentionally reduced the polling places to create issues like this. Stay in line. Vote in person,” Kirk, founder and president of the conservative group Turning Point USA, tweeted on Nov. 8.
About a quarter of the tabulators stopped scanning ballots properly in Arizona’s most populous county. Election officials said the ink used to print out ballots was not dark enough for the tabulators to scan and read. Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates, a Republican, said during an Election Day news conference that no voters were turned away and that county officials were working to fix the problem. And PolitiFact found that Kirk is wrong: Maricopa County didn’t reduce polling places in advance of the general election — it increased the number.
Maricopa County had 223 voting centers open in the 2022 general election, more than it did during the August primary elections (210) and the 2020 general election (175).
“We anticipated that there might be a reversion back to some Election Day voting,” Scott Jarrett, Maricopa County’s election director, said at a Nov. 2 news conference. “That’s why we expanded the number of voting locations from 175 to 223. That’s a 27% increase.”
Kirk did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment.
The county’s 2022 elections plan did not assign voters a precinct to vote. Instead, the county implemented a “vote anywhere” model. Voting centers opened in phases, starting with 10 centers on Oct. 12 and eventually 223 by Election Day.
The additional voting locations, more check-in stations at each location and the shift to a “vote anywhere” model were a part of the county’s plan to reduce wait times to 30 minutes or less.
Kirk said, “Maricopa County intentionally reduced the polling places.”
Maricopa County had 223 voting centers open this general election, more than it did during the August primary elections and the 2020 general election.
The county did the opposite of what Kirk claimed — it intentionally increased the number of polling places.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
PolitiFact staff writer Tori Gantz contributed to this report.