Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton requests federal investigation into long voter wait times

Mar 23, 2016, 2:48 PM | Updated: Mar 24, 2016, 11:41 am

PHOENIX — Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton requested a federal investigation Wednesday into long voter wait times during Arizona’s presidential preference election.

“Throughout the county, but especially in Phoenix, thousands of citizens waited in line for three, four, and even five hours to vote,” he wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Stanton alleged that, by cutting down the number of polling places, the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office unfairly made minorities wait longer to vote.

“In Phoenix, a majority-minority city, county officials allocated one polling location for every 108,000 residents,” the letter read.

“The ratios were far more favorably in predominantly Anglo communities: In Cave Creek/Carefree, there was one polling location for 8,500 residents; in Paradise Valley, one for every 13,00 residents; in Fountain Hills, one for 22,500 residents; and in Peoria, one for every 54,000 residents.”

Voters were not assigned a polling place in Tuesday’s vote.

Stanton also said several other state actions are designed to disenfranchise voters — the state rejected a higher number of minority ballots in the 2014 election and a new state law that makes it a crime for a person to turn in a sealed ballot not belonging to them.

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has accepted the fault for the long lines, though she originally gave part of the blame to voters on Tuesday for opting to wait.

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