Guest Editorial: More Than Just a Hiccup

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Maricopa County officials can’t seem to get it right when it comes to our voting system. In 2016, it was the lack of polling locations that left over 100,000 voters from casting their ballots. Then in February, it was a misprinted insert in early-voting ballots for the 8th Congressional District’s special election that left more than 30,000 voters confused on how to vote.

Yesterday’s “glitch” is just another example of Arizona’s problematic voting system.

Yesterday morning, polling locations across Maricopa County opened late due to election equipment not being set up in time. This meant thousands of eager Arizona voters hoping to cast their ballots before heading to work were turned away at the polls. In areas such as Peoria, New River, Avondale and north Scottsdale, with a combined 11,000 registered voters, polling sites were delayed by over five hours.

For many Arizona voters, this is déjà vu to 2016’s presidential primary election failure. In the 2016 case, there was a drastic reduction in the number of polling locations from 200 in 2012 to only 60 in 2016. Voters waited up to five hours to cast their votes with many leaving polling sites in frustration. The chaos surrounding the presidential primary election triggered nationwide outrage and months later voters replaced longtime Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell.

After the dismissal of Helen Purcell, newly-elected Adrian Fontes quickly criticized Purcell’s handling of the 2016 primary elections and promised to do better. Fontes promised more polling sites, smoother voting experience due to improvements in technology and clear instructions to voters. Doesn’t seem to be going too well from our end.

Could Fontes share the same fate as Purcell? He should. And will when he is up for re-election in 2020.

The Elections office has one job – to properly conduct elections. That’s it. And yet somehow the Elections officials continue to disappoint Arizona voters when it comes to crucial state and national elections. And while Fontes would like to point the finger at Insight, a global IT contractor located in Tempe, for failing to properly set up polling equipment, it’s not a good enough excuse. Especially when Fontes was made aware of the problem Monday night. It’s idiotic and embarrassing. Arizona voters deserve better.