Maricopa County to open more than 110 polling places for May special election

Apr 20, 2016, 3:37 PM | Updated: 3:37 pm

(AP Photo)...

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County will open more than 110 polling places for a special election in May.

Recorder Helen Purcell’s office said it would open 116 locations for the May 17 vote, pending approval by the county board of supervisors.

The board approved the locations on Wednesday.

In the May vote, Arizonans will have their say on two propositions: 123 and 124. The former deals with education funding, while the latter focuses on retirement changes for retired public safety workers.

The county originally planned to open 62 polling locations, just two more than in the presidential preference election. But after voters experienced hourslong wait times, Purcell decided to add 54 more voting places.

Purcell admitted money played a part in the long voter wait times. Her office chose to open just 60 polling locations for the March presidential preference election because funds were tight.

“As of the time we started planning, there was not sufficient monies to pay us for a full-blown election, so we were trying to downsize if we could,” she said.

Elections officials decided to scale back the number of locations also in part to an increased number of mail-in ballots, Purcell said.

“Those people will already be getting a ballot and obviously will not — or should not — be going to the polls on election day,” she said.

As if the cutting back of polling locations was not detrimental enough, the number of voters in this year’s election increased by five percent, with nearly half of all eligible voters countywide recording their ballots.

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Maricopa County to open more than 110 polling places for May special election