Follow San Sensibility on Twitter@
Many Arizonans are outraged at what has been perceived as an attack on our American right to vote. Tuesday hundreds of thousands of people went to do their civic duty and vote for their nominee in the primary election. It seems this was news to the polling stations. Maricopa County is home to over 4,000,000 people, and the sixth largest city in the United States. Why then were there only 60 (out of the 200 available) polling places open? This amounted to over 20,000 voters for every polling location, meaning voters had to stand in line for hours to cast their ballots.
To make matter worse, Latino communities were hit especially hard. Helen Purcell somehow forgot to have polling places open in densely-populated Latino communities on the day of the primary. This is a glaring oversight, given that nearly 41% of Phoenix’s residents are Latino. Democratic State Senator Martin Quezada AZ Central that the lack of available polling locations for the Latino community was problematic.
“In my district, there is only one polling place,’’ Sen. Quezada said. “In my neighboring district, LD 30, there are no polling places.”
“It is no coincidence many poor and predominantly Latino areas didn’t get a polling place,” AZCentral.com editorial columnist Elvia Diaz wrote Tuesday night.
What is most disturbing is that voters who had previously registered as Democrat were instead listed in the voter database as “independent,” “No party listed,” or even “Libertarian.” In Arizona’s closed primary system, independent voters are denied their voice by having to vote with a provisional ballot. But what voters classified as “independent” who cast provisional ballots don’t realize is that their ballots are never counted.
42-year-old Kelly Thornton told US Uncut that roughly two-thirds of voters who came to her precinct had been mistakenly identified as independent by the election software. All of those voters were subsequently forced to cast a provisional ballot (which is not counted).
“One man was a lifelong Democrat who was listed as independent He left the precinct, went to his house, and came back with a card showing that he was registered as a Democrat,” Thornton told US Uncut. “But when I called the election center (administered by the county recorder’s office), they told me to just give him a provisional ballot anyway.”
“People were so cavalier about it, it was like no big deal,” Thornton added.
Thornton was also given a script to read to voters, verbatim, when they asked if their provisional ballots would be counted. The script outright tells the voter that if they cast a provisional ballot when the system lists them as independent, their vote will not be counted.
What upset many was declaring Hilary the victory prematurely. At roughly 8:30 PM local time, a little over an hour after polls closed, with less than 1% of precincts reporting, the Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the Arizona primary.
In Democratic primaries and caucuses, delegates are awarded proportionally; meaning that even if a candidate “wins” a state, their opponent still gets a share of delegates. If the win is razor-thin, delegates are split. A premature declaration of victory for one candidate may discourage thousands of people still waiting in line from voting.
Was it rigged? Let’s find out! A Whitehouse.gov petition has been launched calling on the Obama administration to investigate the claims of voter suppression during the Arizona primary. Add your name below to demand an independent investigation: