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Arizonans protest presidential preference election wait times, one arrested

(KTAR Photo/Sharon Mittelman)

PHOENIX — One person was arrested Monday after several dozen people gathered at the Arizona State Capitol Building to protest long wait times in the presidential preference election.

Arizona Department of Public Safety Capt. Damon Cecil said House security asked the protester to leave but he refused and continued to be disruptive. Cecil said he was arrested for trespassing.

The incident was caught on video. (WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE).

Rep.  Eddie Farnsworth said the man dropped to the floor of the visitor’s gallery in an apparent attempt to make it harder to remove him. He said officers handcuffed the man and carried him out.

The protester was one of dozens who wanted to testify at a House elections committee hearing on problems in last week’s presidential primary election

“People standing in line for five hours to get their voice heard is absolutely ridiculous,” Krystal Sebastian, a Chandler voter, said. “The voting process should not be that difficult.”

Some protesters were angry enough to call for Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell to resign. She partially blamed voters for the long waits last week before walking her words back.

“I want Helen Purcell to either resign or I want her to be terminated,” Scottsdale resident Vanessa Johnson said. “In fact, we want her to go to jail for this. This was an attack on our democracy.”

Many protesters said they want to ensure everyone gets the right to vote, no matter their party or computer errors.

“We need to make sure that people’s party affiliations are not tampered with or otherwise affected so they aren’t allowed to vote when they wait in line, or to open the primary so that independents can vote in the presidential preference election,” protester Scott McConnell of Phoenix said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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