Kari Lake claims her constituents have been disenfranchised. Your constituents tell a different story.

Both Ms. Gilbertson and Mr. Ellington said the mass malfunction of the printers has so far confused the district and company technicians. Ms Gilbertson said a full investigation would be carried out once the more immediate task of counting the ballots was completed.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of the root cause,” Ms Gilbertson said.

Technicians had fixed the printer problem by midmorning on election day, and the affected printers’ settings had been updated by the afternoon. Meanwhile, poll workers offered voters three ways to vote. The easiest was to place them in a slot marked “3” in the locked box under the tab for later collection and counting at the county’s central voting facility in downtown Phoenix.

But within two hours of the initial printer problems, rampant claims and free-floating suspicions were circulating on social media surrounding Slot 3, or Box 3 as it was often called, including posts from state Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward and Andy Biggs , a Republican congressman from Arizona. After Maricopa County officials took to Twitter to update voters affected by the glitch of their options, including using Box 3, Ms. Ward said tweeted in response: “DO NOT PLACE YOUR VOTE CHOICE IN ‘BOX 3’ TO BE TUBED DOWNTOWN. Maricopa County isn’t turning on its downtown tabs today!” Her post was retweeted nearly 400 times.

Later in the day, Ms. Lake’s campaign, wary of a depressing turnout, began softening the claims of her political allies.

Harmeet Dhillon, a campaign lawyer, tried to reassure voters on Twitter about the integrity of their ballots, which had been set aside for later counting. “You must have this,” she wrote of Box 3. “It’s not nefarious per se.” At a press conference, Ms Lake urged her supporters to wait in line, and Ms Dhillon reassured them to use Box 3.

Election officials in the county have blamed Box 3’s claims and other conspiracy theories for compounding the slowdown and confusion caused by the printer’s malfunctions. Ms Gilbertson said 146 provisional ballots out of the nearly 1.6 million total votes counted so far in the county were reserved for further investigation because voters checked in at more than one polling station.

Bill Gates, the chairman of Maricopa’s board of directors and a former electoral attorney for the state Republican Party, said some voters “insisted on tabbing the ballot 10, 20, even 40 times.”