Elections chief: Behind-the-scenes issues caused primary problems for Arizona voters

Mar 28, 2016, 11:34 AM | Updated: 12:17 pm
(AP Photo/Ryan Van Velzer)...
(AP Photo/Ryan Van Velzer)
(AP Photo/Ryan Van Velzer)

PHOENIX — Several behind-the-scenes issues caused long wait times for voters in Arizona’s presidential preference election, Secretary of State Michele Reagan said Monday.

One issue, a computer error, prevented some voters from confirming their registration during Arizona’s presidential preference election.

“We now know that if voters tried to confirm their registration on Voter View, the system could not find them,” Secretary of State Michele Reagan said. “This was because if they entered lower-case letters on their driver’s license number, the system was hard-coded not to accept lower-cased letters.”

Reagan called the error “completely unacceptable” and said her office is working with the vendor to ensure the system will work in the future.

Voters in Maricopa County waited hours in line to vote in the election, which awarded delegates to presidential candidates. In the fallout, several officials have called for investigations into what went wrong and voters have asked the White House to look into what happened.

“On behalf of election officials statewide, I would like to apologize to the voters who are frustrated or angry with the election experience they had,” Reagan said.

As anger surrounding the issue grows, Reagan said her office wants to hear from voters.

“That’s where we’re getting our best information,” she said.

Her office has launched a website and email address where voters can tell her office what happened. She also plans to host bipartisan meetings in the areas most affected by long wait lines — Maryvale, south Phoenix, Tempe and Gilbert have been mentioned thus far — and those where things went smoothly.

The voter error was discovered during an investigation by Reagan’s office. However, it was far from the only blip on the radar.

As wait times for voters lengthened, Reagan said her office was essentially powerless to contact county election officials. There is no direct phone line between the two, so any communication was conducted through the same line the general public would use.

Her office is working to correct the issue.

Reagan said a map that showed polling locations worked on one part of her website, but was having problems on Voter View.

“We’re working with our vendor to make sure their system matches our system,” she said.

Reagan also said there were software and legal issues that caused a bar graph that showed Maricopa County results, despite voters still standing in line.

Reagan said her office was aware that Maricopa County would only open 60 polling places instead of the typical 200 but did not question the move. However, she said her office does not have the authority to order county officials to open more locations.

The county could have attempted to alleviate long lines by opening emergency polling places, but Reagan said each spot must be vetted by officials, staffed and the machines tested ahead of time before it can be approved.

Reagan said polling places could also have divided voters based on the type of ballot they needed — traditional versus provisional — “as they have done in past elections.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona Election

FILE - Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol...
Kevin Stone

Maricopa County attorney says court ruling didn’t resolve Arizona abortion law

Maricopa County’s top prosecutor said Tuesday that last week’s court ruling on abortion didn’t resolve the issue of what the law actually is in Arizona.
1 day ago
Arizona gubernatorial candidates, from left, Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake. (Getty Images Photos)...
Kevin Stone

Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake set to participate in town hall event next week

Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake won’t be debating anytime soon, but Arizona’s gubernatorial candidates are both scheduled to participate in a forum next week in Phoenix.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Rio Verde Fire District)...
Jim Cross

Prop 310 would create tax to help fund rural Arizona fire districts

Here are the pros and cons of Arizona's Prop 310, which would create a 0.1% statewide sales tax to help fund rural fire districts.
1 day ago
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., greets supporters at DMI Companies in Monongahela, ...
Associated Press

McCarthy unveils House GOP’s midterm agenda in Pennsylvania

MONONGAHELA, Pa. (AP) — House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday confronted President Joe Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress with a conservative midterm election agenda filled with Trump-like promises, working not only to win over voters but to hold together the uneasy coalition of his own party that has struggled to govern. McCarthy, […]
5 days ago
(AP Photos/Matt York)...
Associated Press

Candidates for Arizona Secretary of State spar in debate

A Republican Arizona lawmaker sparred with the Democrat in a debate Thursday evening as they each seek the state's top elections post.
6 days ago
Follow @KTAR923...
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Elections chief: Behind-the-scenes issues caused primary problems for Arizona voters