Phoenix voters reflect on botched presidential primary

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 10:51 PM

Democrats and Republicans alike in the state'south largest county that'south residence to Phoenix are still incredulous over election officials' decision to operate sixty polling sites on March twenty-two, down from the normal two hundred.

Phoenix voters reflect on botched presidential primary

The fiasco that was Arizona'south primary election may be the only issue that voters across all parties agree on.

Democrats and Republicans alike in the state'south largest county that'south residence to Phoenix are still incredulous over election officials' decision to operate sixty polling sites on March twenty-two, down from the normal 200.

That created six-hour waits, voter registration mix-ups and voting after hearing a winner get called.

Another aggravating factor was many independent overs -- who weren't allowed to vote in the closed primary but are the state'south largest voting bloc -- went to the polls anyway. They cast provisional ballots, a process that takes on average five minutes.

While some voters called for the firing of county officials, many consent that at a minimum they've to do better.

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has taken full responsibility but refused calls to quit. She said she grossly miscalculated turnout and voter interest. Gov. Doug Ducey is presently supporting opening primaries to independents.

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Secretary of State Michele Reagan, the state'south top elections official, will keep public meetings beginning Monday on the primary.

Here are a few experiences from suburban Phoenix voters who went out and voted -- or at minimum tried to -- and their frustrations with the democratic process.

Ron Landon, sixty-eight, waited 4-1/two hours to finally cast his vote for fellow Democrat, Hillary Clinton. But what he'll recollect is the man selling bottled water to people in line while a woman gave pallets of bottles away.

Landon said the experience has left him charged up about voting and making sure the county makes some changes, including firing county Elections Recorder Purcell. He said the lack of preparation really "shortchanges democracy."

"This is one of the most necessary functions of democracy that makes America what it is," Landon said. "If people are going to undersell voters love this or play these kinds of games, they don't deserve to be in the positions they're in."

The primary marked Clayton Varvel'south first time voting. The Chandler student, eighteen, was looking forward to actually going down to the polls to physically vote as a kind of "homage to the past and the history of voting."

What he thought wouldn't get more than thirty minutes took nearly two hours. Varvel estimates a few hundred people were ahead of him. Many around him were visibly frustrated. He eventually cast his vote for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Melissa Dunmore, twenty-six, double-checked that everything was in order before heading to the polls. She went on a state website and verified that she was correctly listed as a Democrat.

After an hr of waiting to vote, she finally reached the head of the line, where a poll worker told her she was coming up as not registered to any party. As a result, she could only cast a provisional ballot for Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Dunmore said she later confirmed with the elections office that she was a registered Democrat and that she shouldn't have been given a provisional ballot.

Still, even if her vote didn't count, the symbolism of voting meant something. Her father is African-American, and remembers a time when nobody in his family could vote. "Even if the symbol is all we have, I'm gonna participate," Dunmore said.

Victoria Bryand, thirty-four, received compliment from others for sitting out a horrendously long line at a downtown Phoenix polling site.

After standing in heels for thirty minutes, Bryand remembered she still had camping chairs in her car. She shared them with two other women in line. During their four-hour wait, they got relief from strangers handing out bottled water and frosted animal cookies.

When her turn finally came, Bryand was told that she'd number party affiliation. Polling workers couldn't be swayed by an email she'd confirming that she'd updated her voter registration for the Democratic Party.

She'd to settle for a provisional ballot for Bernie Sanders, and later learned her vote wasn't counted.

"Ideally what I'd love to look happen is to have somebody really inquire into all the provisional votes that weren't counted," Bryand said. "It would be fascinating to discover out what that data reveals."

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