Election 2022: Registration error affects up to 6,000 Arizona voters

A voter registration error caused up to 6,000 Arizona voters to get a mail ballot with only federal races, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Tuesday.

Hobbs, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, said in a statement that affected voters will receive the correct ballot shortly.

Hobbs has staked her gubernatorial campaign largely on her staunch defense of the 2020 election in the face of criticism from former President Donald Trump and his allies. Her Republican rival, former television news anchor Kari Lake, has spread Trump’s unsupported claims of fraud two years ago and has called on Hobbs to step aside from overseeing the midterms while she’s on the ballot.

When people register to vote in Arizona or update their registration, an election system queries driver’s license records to verify whether the person has proven their citizenship. Those who don’t have citizenship documentation on file are not eligible to vote in state elections and are registered as "federal only" voters.

Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for Hobbs, said the driver’s license query failed to properly verify the citizenship for some people, leading them to be improperly registered as federal only voters. She did not provide a breakdown of their party affiliation or describe the characteristics that led to problems.

Federal only voters have been a subject of political wrangling since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that Arizona cannot require documentary proof of citizenship for people to vote in national elections. The state responded by creating two classes of voters — those who can vote in all races and those who can vote only in federal elections.

Hobbs said in her statement that the problem affected less than a quarter of 1 percent of voters. She said the database problem has been corrected.

Duplicate ballots mishap

A Mesa couple was confused after they received multiple ballots at their home to vote in the Nov. 8 election.

The Racowskys wanted to make sure their vote counted in this pivotal election, so when they were looking at their names on multiple ballots, they were concerned something was wrong.

"Yeah, this is the same one. It's the same ballot," Marvin Racowsky said. He and his wife Billie went to their mailbox and instead of finding two Maricopa County mail-in ballots for them, there were four.

"I just thought there was a mistake, obviously," Marvin said. "I didn't know which one to use."

FOX 10 reached out to the county, and election officials said Marvin and his wife asked for new ballots and to only use the ballots with the updated number. That's why duplicates were sent.

However, Marvin says they never asked for new ballots but regardless, he's happy his vote will count correctly. Marvin says he did call the department just to make sure he was on the early voting list.

"I thought maybe if they saw I voted more than once they'd throw my ballot out and my vote wouldn't be counted, and I wanted my vote to count," he said.

At a news conference on Oct. 19, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer gave an update on election numbers.

Final voter registrations are at 841,142 Republicans, 731,792 Democrats, 19,829 Libertarians and 842,634 independents. So far, 55,543 mail-in ballots have been returned.

"That green return affidavit has a bar code. As soon as we activate a new packet for you, that first affidavit becomes dead, it becomes deactivated. If you sent both back, we would scan both, but one would be able to move forward. The other, its life would be over," Richer said.

As for Marvin's concerns, the county says no matter what, only one vote will count. He cut up and threw away the ones the county told him to.

"I was concerned some people could have 2, 3, or 4 votes," Marvin said. "And that isn't kosher."

Again, no matter how many ballots, it's one vote for one person, according to the county.

If this happens to you, or you have any concerns, the county says to call them to clear it up.

Information about how to contact the county's election department can be found here.

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