Runbeck: Election Firm Involved in Maricopa County’s Alleged Chain-of-Custody Violations

As Republican Kari Lake appeals a legal defeat in her lawsuit challenging certification of her narrow loss in Arizona’s Nov. 8 gubernatorial election, she is alleging that ballot chain-of-custody issues occurred at Runbeck Election Services, a company that municipalities across the country use for outsourcing election operations.

Lake is appealing a ruling against her last month in her suit against former Secretary of State and current Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County election officials demanding the election result be set aside due to alleged failures and misconduct by the county. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson found that Lake failed to meet a legal standard of clear and convincing evidence that intentional misconduct changed the outcome of the election.

In her appeal, which challenges the legal standard applied by the trial court, Lake alleges that Maricopa County’s “massive violations of law and maladministration” included violating Arizona law’s chain-of-custody requirements by not having Election Day dropbox ballots counted at Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) before going to Runbeck.

Lake’s appeal cites testimony from Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer in last month’s civil trial that Election Day dropbox ballots are not counted at MCTEC, but are instead “counted by our people at Runbeck because they have a high-speed counter because that’s the only day in which approximately 300,000 early ballots come in on one day.”

Lake also cites a Runbeck whistleblower report of “an increase of nearly 25,000 [Election Day dropbox] ballots that Maricopa cannot account for.”​​​​​

The appeal additionally claims that county “officials did not count [Election Day dropbox] ballots and did not create any documents to record the number of ballots transferred to Runbeck” and that “Runbeck allowed employees to insert ballots into the system.”

Runbeck was founded in 1972 and originally assisted with local counties’ elections, according to the company’s website. Runbeck boasts of “reaching more than 70 million voters” with its services.

Runbeck’s services include: election printing and mailing for mail-in ballots; ballot printing on-demand; ballot sorting; ballot software, such as ballot duplication and signature verification; petition management; election services; and vote center equipment.

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