Arizona’s presidential preference election was a triumph and disaster

Mar 23, 2016, 4:37 PM | Updated: 5:27 pm

Arizona, let’s face it head on.

Tuesday’s presidential preference election was a both a triumph AND a disaster.

I’ll begin with the triumph.

Arizona turned out to vote in a very big way. Well, for a primary-style election day.

There were so many early ballots cast that the race was called for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shortly after the early ballot numbers were released.

Way to get ahead of the game, Arizona — except the 50,000 that voted for Rubio (70,000 overall). You might want to hold on for a few more days next time around.

After the race was called, the thousands of voters who remained in line to cast a vote could have just walked out of line and headed home but they didn’t! This is America and they were being Americans. Hats off to all of them that stuck it out until they had the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

Now, to the disaster.

The electoral buck should stop with Secretary of State Michele Reagan, but today Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell is falling on the proverbial sword.

As of Monday, in a joint press conference, Reagan and Purcell claimed they were “ready” for election day.

But come Wednesday, Purcell is getting blamed for cutting the number of county polling places by 70 percent.

What could’ve gone wrong by cutting a majority of polling places?

The short answer is — you guessed it — everything.

Residents were standing in three and four hour lines. The last vote was cast AFTER midnight! Polling locations had to have ballots rushed from officials because the demand was so high.

Why in the world did this happen?

Officially, the answer is to save money. Hey, we can all get behind saving money, right?

Well, not this way.

In my opinion, this all comes down to optics. If all polling places had been open, and the lines were four hours long we would be celebrating voter turnout.

But in an effort to be more efficient, election officials decided not to offer polling places for the parts of town with the lowest voter turnout.

I think you see where I’m going with this. Lowest voter turnout usually belongs to the lowest income and minority communities.

So, there are the optics. Once again, Arizona looks like America’s racist uncle.

What might have been a well-intended move to save taxpayer dollars just ended up furthering Arizona’s racist stereotype.

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Arizona’s presidential preference election was a triumph and disaster