AZ Poll Workers And Voters Testify In Election Lawsuit

| by Robert Fowler
A creative illustration of the word 'vote.'A creative illustration of the word 'vote.'

Poll workers and voters in Arizona have testified that there were a myriad of technical problems and ballot shortages during the state's primary election day. Two lawsuits have been filed as a result of complaints over Arizona's polling places, which have been accused of exercising voter suppression.

On Apr. 25, Dianne Post, an attorney in Maricopa County, recounted her experience as a poll worker during the Arizona primary during a hearing that was populated with angry voters and election officials, according to KTAR News.

Post stated that the machine she used to check in voters repeatedly malfunctioned, giving 36 individuals the wrong ballot.

“Every single time it happened to me it was a Democratic voter who wasn’t able to access a Democratic ballot,” Post said.

The poll worker added that an additional 22 voters were listed in the wrong party. Post also cited a shortage of ballots for prospective voters from two different districts.

Alisa Wolfe, a Pima County voter, took the stand to recount how her voter registration had shifted from Democrat to Independent due to a computer glitch.

The testimonies pertain to a lawsuit filed by Arizona resident John Brakey against Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan. Brakey claims that Maricopa County exercised voter suppression and that the results should be decertified.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton both won the March 22 Arizona primary. Their victory was eclipsed by widespread complaints of long lines, pitifully staffed polling places and technical difficulties making it difficult for voters to cast their ballots.

Both Clinton and Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont have joined a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party against the state of Arizona, the Washington Post reports.

The lawsuit alleges that Arizona’s “alarmingly inadequate number of voting centers resulted in severe, inexcusable burdens on voters county-wide, as well as the ultimate disenfranchisement of untold numbers of voters who were unable or unwilling to wait in intolerably long lines.”

The lawsuit also alleges that racial minorities were disproportionately impacted by the shrinking of polling places, particularly in Maricopa County. Since 2008, the densely populated county has slashed its number of polling places by 85 percent.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed an inquiry into Maricopa County to determine whether or not voter rights had been violated. The county recorder, Helen Purcell, has apologized for the disastrous voter experiences but has denied any intentional wrongdoing, CNN reports.

“At the end of the day, it was just a huge miscalculation and a mistake,” said Elizabeth Bartholomew, the recorder’s spokeswoman. “And we’re moving forward and making changes to make sure that [...] never happens again.”

Sources: CNN, KTAR, Washington Post / Photo credit: Theresa Thompson/Flickr

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