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Maricopa County hiring 4,000 people to help with November election

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)

PHOENIX — There are two weeks left until Election Day in Arizona and the head of elections in the state’s largest county is still working to hire enough employees to ensure that voting happens as smoothly as possible.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes told the county Board of Supervisors on Monday that his office is looking to hire nearly 4,000 people to monitor every polling location during the Nov. 6 election.

“In November, every polling place will have at least one person present who worked it in August,” Fontes said.

Fontes said 88 percent of the nearly 4,000 people have been hired and that he expects all of the workers to be ready to go by Nov. 2.

“I am confident that we are on track to have the workers we need in place by (next) Friday to run Election Day activities,” Fontes added.

Chairman Steve Chucri told reporters after the presentation that the board will work with the Recorder’s Office to ensure that Election Day goes as smoothly as possible.

“At the end of the day, this comes down to the recorder and his office,” Chucri said. “We simply can only provide the resources they need to carry it out. We cannot inject ourselves in the process.”

Fontes is looking to renew his image and make voting in the county more efficient after a disastrous Aug. 28 primary election.

Sixty-two of the county’s 750 or so polling locations did not open on time for the primary because the voter verification machinery had not been set up.

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 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.

In addition to an increased number of polling workers, Fontes announced that his office would use key cards to help track wait times at polling locations in real time.

An election worker will hand a key card to the person who is last in line. That person would then scan a QR code on the key card once they make it inside the polling location — similarly to how Disneyland tracks their wait times.

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