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Ballot error: Candidates missing on many City of Maricopa early mail in ballots

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 22:32:23-04

MARICOPA, AZ — A ballot mistake in Pinal County has county leaders now scrambling to figure out how an entire race was left off early mail-in ballots. This comes as many voters have already mailed in their votes. Some of the names missing off ballots include city council candidates in the city of Maricopa.

"We found out yesterday that some of the ballots have gone out without getting all the races in the ballot," said Julia Gusse, an incumbent Maricopa city councilwoman.

She added that she had received no answers as to how this had happened by Tuesday afternoon when she spoke to ABC15.

"I'm frustrated and very upset. We are trying to run an election here in unprecedented times with the whole COVID-19 situation. It makes it difficult for us to run a race and then to top it off, to have this issue," said Gusse.

Maricopa's Vice Mayor Nancy Smith added that voters contacted her wondering why her name was missing from the ballot. It caught everyone by surprise.

"Even if it's impacted one voter, it concerns me. Every voter should have a say," added Smith.

Early voting is substantial in the city of Maricopa, according to Gusse, so she now wonders how many incomplete ballots were mailed out, and how many of those ballots had already been returned by voters.

Bob Marsh is a candidate running for a seat on the Maricopa city council. He called this error "disheartening."

"It was the whole local race. That is a really big deal. We need to find out which ballots dropped the local race," said Marsh.

Gusse also said this was an important issue because every vote truly counted in an election. She pointed at her first election when she won her race by just a few votes.

Smith said she has been working to find out what went wrong and how this would be resolved for the last two days.

"I'd like to see 100% assurance that they've figured out what the problem is, and every single voter who had problems with a ballot, gets a new ballot and that they get to vote again," said Smith.

ABC15 reached out to Pinal county officials. A spokesman said they were working closely with the Secretary of State's office to figure out what went wrong. County officials believed this may have been caused by a software glitch involving state software.

A spokeswoman with the Secretary of State's office reached out to ABC15 this evening and stated that they were still trying to pinpoint the exact cause of this error. They were able to determine it may have only impacted about 100 ballots.

ABC15 asked the Secretary of State's office how they plan to fix this error, and whether those who had already mailed in the erroneous ballots would be able to get new ballots and vote again. The spokeswoman said they were still trying to determine how to handle this situation and were working closely with Pinal county officials to come up with a solution.

ABC15 will check back with state and county officials tomorrow and update you on any resolutions they have come up with.