Amid reports Maricopa County voters remained in extended line to cast ballots in last month’s primary when primary winners were declared, the Department of Justice has initiated an inquiry as to whether voting rights were violated.
The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office received a letter from the Justice Department last week seeking answers as to why the number of polling places was reduced from over 600 in 2012 to 60 in 2016 and precisely why they were reduced in number.
The reduction from 600 to 60 polling places in an area with the largest concentration of population in the state led to one polling place for every 21,000 registered voters.
Extended lines caused some voters to wait as long as five hours before casting ballots.
Helen Purcell, whose responsibilities with Maricopa County include organizing polling places, stated the problems with reductions rest in “bad decisions,” “miscalculations” and the county estimating more voters would exercise their option of voting by mail.
Testifying in front of the Arizona House Elections Committee, Purcell stated:
“I can’t go back and undo it. I wish I could, but I cannot . . . I made a giant mistake.”
Governor Doug Ducey issued a statement in the immediate aftermath of the March 22 primary demanding to know why polling station lines were long.
Vaguely accusing Purcell of voter suppression of minorities, Phoenix mayor, Greg Stanton, wrote a letter alleging Purcell’s deliberate act of distributing fewer election stations in areas where a higher concentration of minorities exist.
[RT News] [Photo courtesy azcentral.com]