Crowds of mainly Republican voters were left frustrated on Tuesday after state capital regions in Arizona and New Jersey experienced technical issues, reporting problems with their voting machines on midterm election day.
Both counties use Dominion devices and are reportedly working with Dominion to resolve the issue.
Mercer County in New Jersey, home to New Jersey’s capital city, Trenton, reported a county-wide system outage causing all voting machines in each district across the county to go down.
The county officials said that no details are available about the cause of the outage apart from the fact that it’s a software issue with the voting machines.
The technical issue reported in Republican-led Maricopa County in Arizona caused about one in five tabulation machines in about 60 of the county’s 223 voting centers to lock up, rejecting ballots, following which election officials advised voters to submit ballots to be counted later.
Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward said it’s ridiculous that so many polling locations were affected.
The county had isolated the problem in the afternoon, explaining that it was not a software problem and that printers were not making dark enough markings on the ballots.
This has rekindled embers of baseless voter fraud claims in the right-wing media with several commentators and politicians arguing that this would disproportionately hurt Republicans, who have generally preferred voting in person because of distrust of mail-in ballots.
Later in the afternoon, the Republican National Committee and several Republican candidates filed an emergency lawsuit seeking to extend voting hours, arguing the problems with vote tabulation equipment disenfranchised voters.
According to Bill Gates, the chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, machines were locking up because passwords were being entered too many times. Gates stressed that it’s a technical issue that indicates no fraud or anything of that sort, adding that no one is being disenfranchised and there’s no need to extend voting hours.
But, according to official data coming out of Arizona, the technical issue was indeed disproportionately affecting Republican voters with Maricopa data showing a 4:1 ratio of Republicans to Democrats who chose to vote in person rather than mail in their ballots.