Pinal County blames human error for ballot shortages during primary election
PHOENIX — Pinal County officials said human error was to blame for ballot shortages at various polling locations during Tuesday’s primary election.
Kent Volkmer, an attorney with the county, said Wednesday during a press conference that about 2.5% of ballots were impacted.
“We screwed up,” Volkmer said. “This is nothing sinister. This is just simply a mistake.”
Volkmer added that the county underestimated how many independents would show up to vote in the Republican primary, among other miscalculations.
Of the 109 county precincts, 106 have reported totals to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office as of Wednesday afternoon, resulting in nearly 50,000 ballots cast.
The Election Day issues forced the hand of some voters who didn’t want to wait for issues to be resolved.
“Some people chose to leave and not come back,” Volkmer said.
Volkmer vowed for better processes moving forward. Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McClure hinted that a change in elections director could be be a possibility.
Republican leadership in Arizona and on the national level called for David Frisk’s resignation over the ballot shortages.
“I’ve seen mistakes made on a grand scale,” McClure said.
It’s not the first election issue this cycle in Pinal County.
Officials had to scramble after tens of thousands of voters were sent incorrect early mail ballots.
About 46,000 ballots mailed to voters in Casa Grande, Eloy, Maricopa, Mammoth and Superior, plus the Pinal County portions of Apache Junction and Queen Creek were missing municipal contests.
Volkmer said a third major elections issue would not happen.
“It was embarrassing,” Volkmer said. “We’re committed to working to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”