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Despite issues, record 1.2 million votes cast in Arizona’s primary election

Employees gather the ballots at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office on primary election day Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – Despite problems at multiple polling sites in the state’s largest county, a record number of voters participated in last week’s Arizona primary election.

More than 1.2 million Arizonans voted on Aug. 28, about a third of the state’s registered voters and the most ever for a primary election. The previous high was just under a million voters in 2010.

On Wednesday, Maricopa County Recorder’s Office said it would launch an investigation into the problems that caused 62 polling places to open late.

The office of Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said Thursday he’d sent a draft to county auditors but was not releasing it publicly on the advice of legal counsel.

According to state election officials, both parties set turnout records, with around 671,000 Republicans and 525,000 Democrats voting.

However, the Democrats’ increase from the last primary was more than double the Republicans’ increase.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan tweeted Friday that Democrats beat their 2016 total by about 147,000 voters, while around 64,000 more Republicans turned out.

“The split between Republicans and Democrats is just very, very narrow compared to what it normally is,” said Garrett Archer, a senior elections analyst with the Arizona secretary of state.

Chad Campbell, a political consultant in Arizona and former Democratic lawmaker, chalked up the increased Democratic participation to anti-Trump sentiment.

“It signals increased enthusiasm on the Democratic side, and I think that we’re seeing that across the country,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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