ARIZONA NEWS

Pinal County to waive election costs to cities after primary ballot woes

Aug 11, 2022, 9:25 AM

People exit the 1891 Courthouse after a meeting with the Pinal County Attorney and Board of Supervi...

People exit the 1891 Courthouse after a meeting with the Pinal County Attorney and Board of Supervisors Chairman to address election day ballot shortages in Pinal county, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Florence, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — An Arizona county where the Aug. 2 primary election was beset with multiple issues that led to the firing of its election director will waive the costs for running municipal elections in 11 cities and towns and plans to hire an outside election expert to review what went wrong.

The five-member Pinal County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to waive more than $100,000 in costs it planned to bill the cities and towns for running the local elections.

Seven cities and towns had local races left off early ballots that required the county to mail about 63,000 supplemental ballots. And County Attorney Kent Volkmer told the board that four other municipalities were affected by Election Day missteps that led to ballot shortages at about 20 of the county’s 95 polling places.

“As the county manager clearly indicated, we fell below the expectations of our customers,” Volkmer told the board. “So I believe if this board is so inclined, I think there is good cause to waive for all of the various entities that we serve the municipal and town elections for.”

“I think that’s a good idea due to the issues at hand,” Board Chair Jeffrey McClure said.

Last week, McClure had called the election issues “a major screwup” and Elections Director David Frisk was fired the next day. He had just been hired in March.

Volkmer also said he was close to hiring an outside election expert to conduct a review. He said there was so far no sign of any criminal violations but that bringing in someone from outside would ensure that an unbiased assessment would be swiftly completed. He said if any sign of criminal activity were found, the county sheriff would be called in to investigate.

“What we anticipate getting out of this is what went wrong, why it went wrong and then what can we do to make sure that this does not happen again,” Volkmer said. He said he wants the job completed within 60 days, before November’s general election.

The expert, who Volkmer did not publicly identify, has almost 30 years of experience as an elections administrator and had done similar reviews. The person is known to both new Elections Director Virginia Ross and new County Recorder Dana Lewis.

Ross was the elected recorder until she resigned last week to take over the elections department. Lewis was her assistant. The board appointed her on Friday to take over as recorder, which handles voter rolls and mail ballots but is not involved with voting or ballot counting.

The board will certify the election “canvass” on Friday, although more than one board member expressed heartburn over having to do so given last week’s issues.

Board member Jeff Serdy said his first reaction the day after the election was that he did not want to accept the results.

That’s not an option, Volkmer said. Accepting and certifying the results is an act that the law requires. The municipal races will be handled by the localities, while county, state and federal races are up to the board.

“I will tell this board, and this is always not a comfortable conversation, but our legal analysis is you have no choice but to canvass,” Volkmer said.

“It is what’s deemed a ministerial duty, meaning you have to. It’s a ‘shall.’”

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Monsoon...

David Veenstra

Arizona gets $10.3M in federal funding to restore ecosystem

The U.S. Department of the Interior is investing $10.3 million to restore Arizona's lands and waters this year.

2 hours ago

(City of Glendale Photo)...

KTAR.com

Police search for suspect after 2 people were shot in Glendale

Police are searching for a suspect who allegedly shot two people in Glendale early Saturday.

4 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Scottsdale Police Department)...

KTAR.com

4 people stabbed during early-morning melee at Scottsdale bar

A suspect is in custody after four people were stabbed early Saturday during a violent altercation at a bar in Scottsdale.

6 hours ago

Paella featuring lobster tail, jumbo prawns, diver scallops, mussels, chorizo, arborio rice, Englis...

David Veenstra

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale opens new restaurant Faro & Brag

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa opened its new restaurant, "Faro & Brag," in Scottsdale featuring modern cuisine and outdoor seating.

7 hours ago

View of midtown Phoenix. (Phoenix Business Journal Photo)...

Audrey Jensen/Phoenix Business Journal

Phoenix seeks applicants to turn vacant land into mixed-use development

The city of Phoenix is seeking developers for several infill parcels it owns for new housing and commercial projects.

7 hours ago

Velvet Road is one of the four performances as part of Peoria's Music in March concert series. (Peo...

Arin Ducharme

Music in March concerts return to Peoria every Sunday

Music in March at Paloma Community Park returns to Peoria. The concerts will take place at Paloma Community Park near Lake Pleasant Parkway.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Pinal County to waive election costs to cities after primary ballot woes