Calls to investigate reports of voter suppression and disenfranchisement in the Arizona primary are gaining in strength and urgency, as Governor Doug Ducey and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton have now both spoken out against the horrid election conditions, which Bernie Sanders called a “disgrace” in a press conference earlier today.
Voters at certain locations were forced to wait over five hours in order to vote, particularly in Maricopa County where Recorder Helen Purcell, a Republican, was responsible for the reduction in the number of polls from 200 in 2012 to just 60 for Tuesday’s election. The change resulted in each polling station being designated to serve an average of over 20,000 voters. Meanwhile, there were 400 polling stations in Maricopa County during the 2008 elections.
Furthermore, many noted that polling stations were largely absent from Latino communities and low-income areas. Purcell initially defended her choices and even blamed voters for the long lines, but the morning after the primary she admitted she had made a “mistake” and that she “screwed up.”
Gov. Ducey called the situation “unacceptable,” and called for greater inclusion of independents in the political process, as they represent the greatest voting block in the state and across most states in the country.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton went further in a personal letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the matter thoroughly and demand answers and justice for those disenfranchised by the mismanagement and incompetence. He noted that more affluent neighborhoods received more polling stations per capita, and also noted that Arizona has a history of voter suppression and a documented history of discarding provisional ballots.
The chairman of the state’s House Elections Committee has also set up a hearing for 10 a.m. on Monday morning to investigate the irregularities and to determine the process by which the disaster at the polls occurred. As per a state agenda item, members of the hearing will discuss the process by which polling places were selected, the processes surrounding early voting, and the participation of Independent voters in the process.
Helen Purcell and Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, who has been criticized by Gov. Ducey for her stance regarding election procedures, will both be taking part in the hearing.
Sign the petition below to demand Congress create a voters’ bill of rights to protect future votes in the primary process: