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Maricopa County elections chief: No guarantees November will go smoothly

(Facebook/Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder)

PHOENIX — After more than 60 polling places in Maricopa County failed to open on time for last month’s primary, the county’s top election official said he could not guarantee that the November general would go any better.

“I can’t guarantee anything and I would be foolish to try,” Recorder Adrian Fontes told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

“But at the end of the day, we are working real hard to make sure that (polling stations will open on time).”

Sixty-two of the county’s 750 or so polling locations did not open on time for the Aug. 28 primary because the voter verification machinery had not been set up. They all were up and running before noon.

Fontes has blamed the contractor hired to connect the tablet-like devices, saying the company did not send enough workers to complete the job on time.

The company, Tempe-based Insight, denied the claim. Insight spokesman John Hartz told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his company provided more technicians than requested.

“We believe the audit will help clarify the root causes of the delays, as opposed to the support role our technicians were contracted to provide. Insight takes very seriously our role as a good citizen of our community and the importance of the voting process,” Hartz said.

It was not known how many people were affected due to the issue.

Fontes said in order to rectify the situation, the county will not sign another contract with the contractor and will instead rely on county employees.

“They are dedicated and professional across all institutions,” Fonte said. “All folks in all different areas (of the county) are dedicated to getting the job done, day in and day out.”

The county board of supervisors last week approved $200,000 in funding for an independent audit into the election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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