By Wendi Strauch Mahoney
The Maricopa County election may be uncertifiable if the accounts of election workers at the polls are true. Multiple Arizona poll workers have come forward, sharing documentation of their election day observations with UncoverDC. These poll workers—an election judge, three clerks, and an election marshal—worked at the same voting center all day on election day. None of these poll workers knew each other prior to working on Election Day. There were a total of 1 inspector, 2 judges, 1 marshal, and 7 clerks at this location. One of the individuals provided a screenshot of the various roles and their duties for reference below:
UncoverDC wrote a comprehensive column about Maricopa County Election Judge Karla Sweet’s observations on November 12. Her letter documents multiple issues at the poll, including tabulator malfunctions, long lines, not following procedures as described in the Election Day Manual, and voters who left the polls due to long waits.
The other election workers who have come forward observed many of the same issues, corroborating Sweet’s observations. Each of their declaration letters is important because each poll worker was located in a different area of the center. Their stories corroborate our previous reporting; these declaration letters present new information worth highlighting. For reference, the declarations are pictured in the gallery below:
Marcella Heiman/Maricopa Election Clerk/2022/PAGE 1
Marcella Heiman/Maricopa Election Clerk/2022/PAGE2
Cynthia Schlesinger: Marshal
Cynthia Schlesinger was the Marshal at the voting center. She noted many of the issues described by Karla Sweet. However, as Marshal, one of her duties was to assist with curbside duties. She states that the county election workers—Mark McCall and Yamille Martinez—”[did] this against all rules.” As a result of McCall’s presence outside, the poll workers had to repeatedly go outside to retrieve him when they needed assistance. Schlesinger reports she was “supposed to be spoiling the ballots as needed, but Mark gave this job to his cohort Yamille [Martinez].” Schlesinger also noted that her colleagues, Pam and Sue, counted the ballots, noting a discrepancy from Monday. Schlesinger writes:
“Mark said there was 767 ballot paper in the box, there should have been [many fewer] as we had more than 30 voters and test prints. When we brought this to his attention his response was ‘oh well, they can fire me’.”
Schlesinger also states that she and the others were not sworn in according to the rules but were merely “signed in.” Additionally, she said the mail-in ballots were “left in the collector box overnight when they should have been picked up.”
The Twitter post below highlights some of the problems with ballot counts, chain of custody, and “Door #3,” as recounted at Wednesday’s public hearing before the Board of Supervisors.
Maricopa County has an issue right now tabulating between check ins, ballots cast and remaining numbers that have yet to be reported. https://t.co/I9SoVNufRZ
— Tyler Bowyer (@tylerbowyer) November 17, 2022
At the end of the day, Schlesinger and Martinez delivered all the mail-in ballots that were never picked up. Schlesinger says she asked McCall multiple times throughout the day “to call and have them picked up.” She then continues to recount what happened at the drop-off site at the end of the day.
“When we arrived at the drop-off site, the containers and duffle bags were removed, and we both had to sign the receipt. I was given a copy, as was Yamille, but she pulled mine from my hand and said Mark [McCall] gets them; I have no idea where they are now; also, I watched as a fellow cut the seal and look[ed] in the bag, I was about to question why but Yamille [Martinez] quickly drove off, that seal should never have been cut.”
Susan Hellwig: Election Clerk
Susan Hellwig was an Election Clerk. She says she witnessed “voter suppression,” providing the observations to substantiate her claim. She confirmed McCall was at the curbside outside. She felt he and his HUB employee were:
“Holding up the line and preventing voters from entering our site to vote when site books and voting stations were available. Because of this, I started counting the voters at the site books, voters waiting for ballots to be printed and the open voting stations, and announcing how many voters could enter.”
Hellwig also noted the “ballot paper count could not be reconciled at the end of the day.” She has “no idea how Mark handled it.” Hellwig also says the “tabulators were rejecting ballots all day, and [she] was reprinting ballots for the voters who chose not to put their original ballots in door #3.”
Pam Cetina: Election Clerk
Election Clerk Pam Cetina worked Monday and on Election Day. She was a poll clerk whose job was to check[ing] in all voters on the computer station, verifying name, address, and voting status. She writes that Monday went smoothly. However, on Election Day, it was not until 10 a.m. that she understood there were tabulator problems. She realized it was a problem when Sweet asked her to “spoil a voter’s ballot and help her with a new one” Cetina recounts what she experienced:
“I looked over the ballots carefully when the voters came back to spoil their ballots and could see no reason why they were being rejected. I finally went and found Mark McCall, our Inspector, and asked him what was going on; he just acted like it was no big deal. I spoke to others on our team, and they all knew this wasn’t normal. Even the customers were becoming suspicious, asking if this was going to be another 2020. Yami [Martinez], who is a[n] employee of the county and works directly with Mark McCall, would often hover in our area listening to what was going on. They didn’t want me writing SPOIL in the middle of the ballot and asked that when the customer was done with it, to find him/her, and he would take care of it. Yami [Martinez] was also working as a clerk. I started telling voters if they had any more problems to come back to me, and I would print another ballot for them.”
Marcy Heiman: Election Clerk
Marcy Heiman’s observations align with the others. Heiman observed persistent issues with tabulators malfunctioning and ballot reconciliation issues. She heard McCall say, “they might fire me, in a joking manner,” in reference to ballot reconciliation mismatch. Heiman observed long lines outside and at the tabulators all day with “no break.” Elderly people “in walkers, wheelchairs, blind, and one was wheeled in a bed, to cast their vote in person. It was difficult for them to complete the first ballot, but the look of anguish in their eyes when their ballot [was] rejected was heart-wrenching,” corroborating Sweet’s observations. An elderly voter tells his story:
“I was told they couldn’t accept my ballot,” says Richard about his experience at the Desert Hills polling place.
Many reports of #AZVoterSupression have come out about this location, which is in a deep red district in Maricopa County. pic.twitter.com/wYFtlhWgW8
— Olivia Brown🇺🇸 (@oliviaintheusa) November 16, 2022
Heiman also noted the following. McCall had the keys to the building. On Tuesday, notes the clerk:
“Mark [McCall] was already in the building; we clocked in and asked when we would test the tabulators. He stated he tested them the night before, seemed odd to me, especially if the other party wasn’t there for the test. No one witnessed the test. The Oath was not given that day.”
Importantly, Heiman also noticed when “Mark [McCall] would spoil a ballot, he wouldn’t write across the printing on the back of the ballot but on the side. This is not how it is supposed to be done.” Her account also notes the arrival of the “IT tech” at 12:30, “who sat at the end of the printer tables on his tablet. I couldn’t get over to see what he was doing or if he was online. Runbeck showed up around 1:20, opened up the laptops, and looked like they were changing the setting on the printers, so the ballots should print better. They did not appear to be online.”
Can The Arizona Election Be Certified?
There has been much discussion about the DOJ announcement detailing plans to monitor local poll locations. They announced a similar plan in 2018. Federal officials are not supposed to impose themselves on local elections; however, local officials may invite federal oversight if issues at the polls are reported.
Generally, elections are the purview of each state. However, the Help American Vote Act (HAVA) passed in 2002 by the United States Congress lays out “mandatory minimum standards for states to follow in several key areas of election administration.” One of those standards highlighted by the October 26, 2022, DOJ press release is to “ensure that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation, or fraud in the election process.” Given the details provided by eyewitness accounts above, it seems voters were disenfranchised, denied equal access, and/or their votes may have been suppressed. This is the very type of issue that might require the oversight of federal officials.
The entire election for the state can not be certified. The level of disenfranchisement is something an attorney general should be concerned about, not assigning a special counsel to go on a witch hunt concerning the presidential records act.