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Independent voters in Pinal County may have received wrong ballot

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

PHOENIX — With just weeks to go until the primary elections, another county in Arizona has identified issues with its ballots that affected independent voters.

Some independent voters in Pinal County who changed their party from the one they were registered with for the 2016 primary election were not given the proper ballot for this primary, the Pinal County Recorder’s Office said.

The office said in a statement that “voters not registered to a recognized party” who were on the permanent early voting list were sent the ballot for the party they registered for during the last primary election.

It was not immediately known how many voters were affected: Spokesman Joe Pyritz told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the office was currently assessing that number.

“We learned of this problem from the voters calling in stating they had not selected a ballot to be mailed to them,” Recorder Virginia Ross said in a statement.

The recorder’s office said the error occurred as a result of an “invalid system program to purge voter selection” after the last primary election.

Pyritz said two other counties were also impacted, but that Ross did not want to disclose those counties since it was unknown how they would handle the issue.

“We are all very disappointed in the current vendor’s lack of support and look forward to a new voter registration system being implemented in 2019 with a new vendor as the current system is clearly outdated,” Ross said in the statement.

Voters who were affected by the ballot mix-up can vote on that ballot if they so choose, discard it or contact the recorder’s office for a different party ballot. The last day to request a ballot by mail is Aug. 17. Early ballots must be mailed by Aug. 22.

Pinal County was not the only Arizona county that encountered issues with its independent voting ballots: Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said earlier this month that nearly 2,000 Independent voters did not receive the early voting ballots they requested due to a website malfunction.

“We discovered the system was reporting which Independent voters were requesting early ballots, but not what type of ballots they were selecting,” Fontes said.

“The office has been reaching out by email and mail to those voters to inform them of the situation and ensure we send them the correct ballot.”

According to the recorder’s office, 1,154 of the 1,922 voters who were affected have been successfully contacted and their ballots have been retrieved.

“The website is working securely and correctly now. We will continue to accept early ballot requests from all voters, and ballot selections from Independents,” Fontes said.

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