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Arizona Election Worker Arrested: Maricopa County elections worker detained following stealing from the tabulation center

According to officials, a temporary poll worker was detained last week for allegedly taking a security fob and keys from the Maricopa County Tabulation and Poll Center (MCTEC). Walter Ringfield, 27, was arrested Friday and thrown into jail on charges of theft and criminal damage. He is ineligible for bond because he is on probation for a prior felony, according to court documents.

The incident occurred on Thursday as the Maricopa County Elections Department prepared for the July 30 primary election. Early voting begins July 3.MCTEC is situated at Third Avenue and Lincoln Street in downtown Phoenix. Right-wing activists held demonstrations while ballots were counted in the 2020 and 2022 national elections. According to the Maricopa County Elections Department, election officials checking daily inventory on Friday morning discovered that an item had been removed from the Ballot Tabulation Center the previous evening. “Staff took immediate action to investigate the matter and contacted the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” Jennifer Liewer, an elections department spokesperson, said in a statement on Monday.

Arizona Election Worker Arrested

Why was a temporary Maricopa County election worker accused of theft?

Ringfield was caught on surveillance video taking the missing item from a desk around 5 p.m. Thursday, according to court records.

“On the desk, there was a red scrunchy wrist lanyard with a security fob and keys attached,” the probable cause statement for Ringfield’s arrest reads. “Walter stops at the desk, grabs the lanyard with the security fob, and continues walking. Walter next places the security fob and lanyard in the right pocket of his shorts.” According to the arrest complaint, detectives executed a search warrant at Ringfield’s Phoenix home on Friday. They discovered the security fob inside a bedroom dresser and the wrist lanyard in his car. “The stolen item has been recovered, but to ensure the integrity of Maricopa County Elections, election workers are reprogramming and re-conducting logic and accuracy testing of all equipment,” said Liewer.

What is the use of the stolen security fob?

The arrest report states that the security fob is used with secure tablets at the center of the election. “A director at the facility stated that the estimated cost of the reprogramming would be greater than 19,000 dollars, and the secure operation of the facility is greatly impeded until the reprogramming is complete,” according to the probable cause report. According to the arrest report, Ringfield informed officers that he was fired for allegedly taking something. He reportedly admitted taking the fob but returned it after about 20 minutes. “Walter stated his reason for taking the fob was to ‘clean up,'” the probable cause document reads.

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