ARIZONA NEWS

Excessive lines in Arizona primary resulted from Purcell’s order, report finds

Mar 31, 2017, 5:30 AM | Updated: 11:18 am
(AP Photos)...
(AP Photos)
(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — A decision to drastically cut the number of polling locations in Maricopa County during the 2016 presidential primary election came from the top down and didn’t result in any staff firings, a new report found.

The decision made by former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell caused massive voting lines and voter frustration — and ultimately led to Purcell being unseated by Adrian Fontes after holding office since 1988.

During a news conference Thursday, Fontes said staff who run the day-to-day elections operations weren’t consulted when Purcell decided to reduce the number of polling locations to 60, resulting in wait times of more than five hours for some voters who waited past midnight to cast their ballots.

After opening 200 polling places in the 2012 presidential primary, Purcell later contributed the downsized number of polling places to a lack of funding and predicted increase in mail-in ballots.

But lower-level elections workers thought the locations would be “mega polling sites” with multiple polling stations and 10 to 15 times the resources — a plan that proved to be “wholly inadequate,” Fontes said.

The report also revealed about 168 votes in the Nov. 8 general election were counted twice and 40,000 voter registration forms received before the 2016 election were left sitting in boxes.

Fontes said he plans to avoid these types of issues in future elections by working closely with his staff and the public.

“The main problem that I wanted to solve [when I ran for office] was the opaque and distant relationship that [Purcell] had with the people of Maricopa County,” Fontes said.

“My lesson going forward is listen to the folks who work in the office,” he added. “They’re really quality people, they’ve been here a long time.”

As part of the recorder’s budget request for fiscal year 2018, which starts in July, Fonte is asking for $11.8 million to help fund more positions.

KTAR News’ Kathy Cline and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Feb. 3-5

Mint will host a Super Bowl pre-party, a student with a gun on campus was arrested and a driver died in a fatal Phoenix wreck. Here are this weekend's biggest news stories.
19 hours ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Over $100K in production equipment stolen near NFL Experience in Phoenix

An investigation is underway after police said over $100,000 worth of production equipment was stolen from the NFL Experience in Phoenix on Saturday.
19 hours ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department )...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police seek man who fled scene of fatal multi-vehicle wreck

Police are seeking a man who fled the scene after he was involved in a fatal multi-vehicle accident Saturday night, authorities said.
19 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

NFL offering free CPR training during Super Bowl week

The NFL and American Heart Association will provide free CPR education in Arizona throughout Super Bowl week as part of the NFL Experience.
19 hours ago
(AP Photo)...
KTAR.com

Glendale ranks 4th in study of worst commutes in US

In a new study of U.S. cities, Glendale ranks fourth in terms of the nation's worst commutes.
19 hours ago
An IRS 1040 form, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, is shown on Thursday, April 5, 2018, in New Yo...
KTAR.com

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide provides free income tax prep assistance in Arizona

One taxpayer assistance option available is the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, which is providing free tax assistance and preparation in Arizona.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Excessive lines in Arizona primary resulted from Purcell’s order, report finds