The Voting Mess In Arizona

A longtime friend of mine and his husband are Arizonans. They were caught up in the Presidential Primary voting debacle from this past Tuesday. Keith posted this:

Having been caught up in the madness of the voting quagmire that was Maricopa County yesterday, it would be easy to say that I never want to do that again. Stand in line for four hours, that is, versus never voting again. Voting is a right that too many people take lightly. The sheer numbers of people voting yesterday where I voted says, that yes, one vote can make a huge difference. I almost gave up at one point but then I thought, NO, that is handing a victory to those that created the mess. Whatever that victory was, budget cuts, consolidation, or plain and simple voter suppression.

Why would anyone think that you could eliminate over two-thirds of the polling places and it would be okay?

Let’s look at a very unscientific and very conservative analysis of the numbers:
The Maricopa County Recorders website says they serve over 1.9 million voters. That is almost one half the population of Maricopa County. Now, we know that all 1.9 million will not show up to vote, let’s take half just for sake of argument. That is still probably too many but stay with me here on this analysis. I must digress a bit to say that for some reason it was decided to have only 60 polling places instead of 200 for yesterday. OK. So, that means that there are 15,833 voters per polling place. And let’s further assume that thirty percent of those used early voting, that brings the number down to around 11,000 per polling place (the 60 number). The pooling places are only open 12 hours, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, so if you divide 11,000 by 12 you get 924 voters per hour for EACH polling place. That translates to 15 voters per minute…. That is with only six voting booths at the polling place I used. How does that possibly make sense? If we cut that number in half it is still impossible to achieve the goal of giving everyone the opportunity to vote.

Let’s not even consider the issues encountered such as slow check-in process (not the fault of the poll workers), running out of Democratic ballots (at my polling place, while there were piles and piles and piles and piles of Republican ballots), and still only six voting booths.

Clearly, something other than saving money was at the root of all of this madness. I saw a number of people give up and leave. That is not acceptable. If even one person is denied the right to vote, there is a problem and it is only getting worse.

Something must be done. Stand up for your right to vote. Contact the Maricopa County Recorder (http://recorder.maricopa.gov) and voice your displeasure (politely).

As for me, I will be signing up for early voting.on is denied the right to vote, there is a problem and it is only getting worse.

Something must be done. Stand up for your right to vote. Contact the Maricopa County Recorder (http://recorder.maricopa.gov) and voice your displeasure (politely).

As for me, I will be signing up for early voting.

The above was posted with permission.

Clearly, Keith, Ben, and hundreds of thousands of other Arizonans were screwed when it came to exercising their right to vote.  His post above has some cogent analysis of the issues.

Other facts:  the Maricopa Country County Recorder is a Republican.  The Arizona House and Senate are (and have been) controlled by Republicans.  Like other Republican statehouses, voter ID requirements have been passed, that disproportionately disenfranchise people of color, and people in lower economic classes.

This problem in Arizona is a direct result of Republican efforts to suppress voting.  Only Republicans see “voter fraud” in need of prevention, and only Republicans see the need to reduce early voting, reduce polling places, and similar voter suppression activities.

This has been an across-the-board effort, ranging from state (Republican) legislatures, to the (Republican-controlled) US House and Senate, to the (until recently Republican-controlled) SCOTUS, with various (Republican) groups bring suit in every way to gut the Voting Rights Act, change voting processes, and screw up primary voting.

I blame the Justice Department for not stepping in on these outrageous acts of voter suppression, but I blame Republicans more for their contempt for the Constitution and voters in this country.

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