It has been 18 years and 98 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
The reaction to the Tuesday, March 22, 2016 presidential primary in Arizona has been deafening and swift. Arizona’s long lines were a national story and an embarrassment as was the clearly unequal dispersement of polling locations throughout the county. Some areas of the county probably had too many polling locations while other areas of the county had none.
Greg Stanton, Phoenix’s mayor, has asked the U.S. Attorney to investigate. A petition is circulating asking the Obama administration’s Justice Department to investigate. Governor Doug Ducey weighed in calling for future open primaries that would allow all registered voters, no matter what party they belong to, to vote in a primary election. Even the State House Elections Committee is getting into the act and holding a hearing.
There’s plenty of blame to go around and all of it does not belong at the feet of Helen Purcell, Maricopa County Recorder. Don’t read this as Purcell being blameless for the buck stops at her office. She made poor decisions and bad recommendations to the County Board of Supervisors. She decided that there would be more mail-in ballots cast than walk-in votes. Wrong. In February, upon the recommendation of Purcell, the Board approved only 60 locations from its usual number of 120. Purcell said cost concerns and the belief that a majority of ballots would be mail-in drove her recommendation. This is not the only election where an erroneous Purcell decision caused problems during an election. She won’t resign but it is time for her to go. Don’t worry; there will be plenty of candidates vying for her position at the next election.
Wait a minute…the Board of Supervisors did not have to accept her recommendation. Where was their due diligence? Certainly the Supervisors’ staff should have researched the issue before accepting her recommendation. Then there is the State Legislature and the Governor. They are not blameless either. The state legislature created a budget cutting funding used to conduct elections in all counties, including Maricopa County. County officials protested but no one in the legislature listened to them. Governor Ducey signed the state budget that included the reduced funding for county elections. Now the very same people who approved skimping on elections want Purcell’s head. People who live in political glass houses should not be throwing stones.
With all of the light on the situation be assured there will be more places than you can shake a stick at, for the General Election in November.
I promised to include comments I received from my blog readers about Tuesday’s election and I share them with you now:
“Yesterday I was upset about the loooooooooong lines at Hope Chapel on 63rd Avenue in Glendale.
Today, after watching the news coverage last night, I am FURIOUS!
In the past, I’ve preferred to vote in person rather than use an Early Voting Ballot; I just like to go to my polling place, cast my ballot, and watch them put it in the machine. (I’ve never had too long a wait.)
Thinking this time would be no different, I didn’t request an Early Voting Ballot.
Unfortunately, I have developed a mobility problem that prevents me from standing for long periods of time, and there was no way I was going to be able to stand for 3+ hours in line waiting to vote!
Who would have thought there would be this HUGE fiasco?!
The evening news reported that Maricopa County cut the polling places from 200 (in 2012) to a mere 60 for this very important election!
The news also reported that at some (not all) of the polling places voters who had an Early Ballot, who simply wanted to drop it off, were not told they did not have to stand in the looooooong line. There should have been a volunteer outside (with a bull horn) telling people to go inside and drop off their ballot – but apparently that never happened! Why wasn’t this done? Utter lack of communication!
Not to mention Hope Chapel had only ONE bathroom to accommodate voters who needed to use the facility! Or other polling places running out of ballots!
In a televised interview with Helen Purcell last night, she made some weak excuse about the reduced number of polling places, and also “blaming” the voter’s lack of information on the resultant loooooooong lines. How dare she!
This morning she stated she would not step down from her position, but I don’t think that should be her decision. She should be removed from her job, based on pure and simple Incompetence! She screwed up, she should pay the price – – as should any of her staff who were compliant in the decision to reduce the number of polling places to be made available to voters!
Sadly, Arizona has made the news – and not in a good way! Once again, we are made to look like a bunch of ignorant, uninformed fools – thanks to the leaders of this State.
You asked for my opinion, Joyce. Well, there you have it!”
“I couldn’t believe there were no polling places in south Glendale. I had an early ballot but when I realized my time frame, I just needed to drop my ballot. Rather than going 10 or 12 miles to the Glendale polling places, I chose to go to the 51st Avenue and Thomas polling place to just leave my ballot. I was shocked that the line went all the way around the building at 10:00 in the morning. I would never have been able to stand there that long. I know of two people for sure that could not take two or three hours to stand in line to cast their ballots. What poor planning for an area that constantly talks about wanting people to get out and vote. I remember years going to vote and my car would be the only one in the parking lot. Sure hope they get this mess worked out before the November election.”
“I would not have been able to stand in a 3 hour line having arthritis in both of my knees. I am very glad that I am also receive an early voting ballot. I think this state needs to seriously look at at least two things providing the ability to do online voting ONLY during a certain time frame (like from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. when most people are home) and also putting more polling locations in those areas where it is likely for individuals will not have a way to vote online. This is a complete embarrassment for our state.
It is also an embarrassment to our great country that these 5 individuals are who we have to choose from to become president, its disgusting.”
“jOYCE, My wife was unable to stand in line for three hours so she did not vote and expect hundreds or thousand of voters who wanted to vote were angry and went home. Helen should probably lose her job over this fiasco. No common sense whatsoever. Our typical politicians for you. I wonder if it was planned by one party or the other????”
“I am a young person but to stand in line ruined my already marginal feet even more. I was amazed how many people hung in there to use their right to vote.”
© Joyce Clark, 2016
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