DOJ Wants Answers on Maricopa County Voting Problems

By Editor April 7, 2016 07:37

By Lorin McLain

The U.S. Department of Justice officially wants answers over the voting debacle of Arizona’s March 22nd Presidential Preference Election. The DOJ’s Civil Rights Voting Section sent a letter to the Maricopa County Recorders Office on April 1st, asking for information by April 22nd. Voters in Maricopa County waited in line for hours, some past midnight after the county cut the number of polling places. Polling places were cut to 60 compared to 200 open during the 2012 election.

Among information federal investigators are looking for is a complete list of polling places and the number of registered voters, details on staff manning the polling places, and how the county went about determining the number of polling locations and where they would put them. The department also wants to know whether voters could vote at any polling places, and what the response was to the public outcry. County officials say they’ve received similar requests over the years.

In the week after the election, organizers told the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors they expected about 23-percent of eligible voters to turn out based on early voting ballots. The turnout was more than double what they expected. A report from the “Arizona Republic” showed polling places were particularly absent in poorer neighborhoods of west Phoenix, Glendale, and the southwest Valley. Analysts say while more wealthy areas of Gilbert, Chandler, the Ahwatukee Foothills and north Scottsdale also had fewer polling spots; it put poorer voters at a disadvantage because they were unlikely able to drive a minimum of three miles to cast a ballot.

The Sanders campaign warned of possible legal action on claims lost votes would cost him delegates. The Sanders campaign says it is concerned by voters who say their provisional ballots were tossed out because they were erroneously stripped of their party affiliation. Voters had to be registered with the party to vote for the party candidates.

The federal investigation follows a request by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who stated in a letter to the U.S. Attorney General that he believed the reduction of polling places disproportionately impacted minority voters. Maricopa County elections officials have admitted to making a huge mistake, but they insist the long lines impacted all voters, not just minorities. Arizona’s secretary of state went ahead and certified voting results on April 4th, despite the outcry. The official canvas has Hillary Clinton beating Sanders with 262, 743 votes compared to Sanders’ 192,962 votes.  Donald Trump won the Republican side with 286,743 votes, Senator Ted Cruz won 172,294 votes, and Gov. John Kasich got 65,965 votes. Senator Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race before March 22nd, managed to earn 72,304 votes.

By Editor April 7, 2016 07:37

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