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Arizona’s Primary Day Headaches Aren’t Finished Yet

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Arizona’s Primary Day Headaches Aren’t Finished Yet

People wait to vote in the U.S. presidential primary election outside a polling site in Glendale, Arizona March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec

While the national media has turned its attention to the upcoming primaries in Wisconsin, voters in Arizona are fighting against the state’s weak response to complaints of long lines and a shortage of polling locations during its recent primary, last Tuesday.

But it seems uncertain there will be any remedy to the situation.

“I apologize profusely — I can’t go back and undo it,” said Helen Purcell, the Maricopa County recorder, during a highly charged public hearing on Monday in front of the Arizona House Elections Committee. Purcell had earlier caught flak for accusing voters of being responsible for the long lines.

In the first presidential election year since the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, polling stations in Maricopa County, home to the greater Phoenix area, were reduced from 200 in the 2008 primaries to just 60 this year, resulting in waiting times of up to five hours at some locations. In neighboring Pima County, which includes the greater Tuscon area, complaints arose about incorrect party affiliations, which, in a closed primary like Arizona’s, prevented voters from choosing presidential preferences.

During the public hearing hearing, person after person approached the podium, providing testimony of poll workers telling them that their votes weren’t going to count because the election was already decided, or because their party affiliation had been switched. Many also called for the Purcell’s resignation, or called the voting irregularities “a planned attack,” although there’s no evidence to support that claim. Others called for a re-vote.

Not possible, said J.D. Mesnard, a Republican committee member, because it would disenfranchise those who had already voted.

The threat of voter suppression has become much more real following the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, the result of Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision. The VRA, among other things, required that states with a history of political or racial discrimination had to get approval from the Department of Justice or a federal court before making any changes to their electoral procedures or policies, to ensure the changes wouldn’t leave voters of color worse off. After 2013, Arizona was no longer legally bound to do so.

Meanwhile, a White House petition has attracted over 200,000 signatures demanding an investigation into reports of those unable to vote in the primary.



  1. mesa wind March 31, 2016

    No evidence? There were thousands of people who testified that their party affiliation was switched to the opposite party or to unaffiliated nullifying their vote. A data breach hack in December 2015 of 191 million voter’s information allowed this cybercrime. The discovery of the theft for the victims only happened when they went to exercise their rights. The Secretary of State confirmed this happened to someone in her office even. The evidence is there but the political will is NOT.


    1:15 mark Kinsey Remacullus (spelling?) about data breach

    http://www.databreaches.net/191-million-voters-personal-info-exposed-by-misconfigured-database/ one site of many discussing this issue . The correction should be open primaries where even independents get to vote to sidestep this attack


    1:31 mark Representative Townsend calling for Forensic Investigation by the Dept of Justice

    1:37 minute mark Michael Martinez, Director of Legislative Affairs for Arizona Citizens Assoc. . spoke as one who got college students to register and personally walked them through the process and handed in their voter registration cards himself gave evidence to the tampering with their affiliations as well.

    Most of the provisional ballots (which are not counted ) were people who showed up at the polls and couldn’t vote in the closed primary due to their affiliation being switched on them and demanding a ballot anyway.

    Despite not counting the provisional ballots and the angry testimony, the board laughed as they voted to allow the results to stand as is? It’s obvious to the world now just how rigged the system is with worse elections than some third world countries!

  2. itsfun March 31, 2016

    We have had so many years of people not caring enough to vote, it is refreshing to see so many voters. It shows just how piss_d off so many people are at our current office holders on both sides of the aisle. Sure seems like we could do better then the current leading candidates though. We have leading candidates that have unfavorable ratings by the population. Neither is considered trustworthy by the people. The way each of them are hated by the other side means 4 more years of turmoil and a divided country. They will not be able to bring the country together.

  3. jakenhyde March 31, 2016

    People of Arizona. You voted the bums who made these long lines a reality into office. Now you have the power to vote the bums out. Do it!!!


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