There are several myths left floating around regarding yesterday’s flawed election in Arizona:
- It was just a few hours (or it’s the voters’ fault)
Lines were so long people literally spent an entire work day waiting in line. In Maricopa County, every polling location had to accommodate 20,000 voters.
- All democrats were affected equally by the lack of polling places.
Latino communities suffered disproportionately due to lack of polling places in their neighborhoods. Maricopa County is 40% Latino. Pima County had twice as many polling locations open than Maricopa County, with 1/3rd as many voters.
- Provisional ballots will eventually be counted.
The SoS expressly stated that if you are listed as anything but Democrat in their system (even if it’s wrong), your provisional ballot will not be counted. The Script that Yavapai’s County Recorder’s Office uses:
“Every provisional ballot is checked for eligibility. If you are registered as independent, other, party not designated, or libertarian, you are not eligible for this election and therefore, by law, your vote cannot be counted. If you are registered as a Democrat, Green, or Republican, and your ballot is otherwise eligible, then your provisional ballot will be counted.”
- This only affected independents who switched to democrat to vote for Sanders. FALSE.
Lifetime Democrats were erroneously listed as Independent, Republican, Libertarian, and “no affiliation”. None of their votes will count. People brought their hard copy voter ID with the correct affiliation and were still not allowed to vote with a regular ballot. It won’t be easy to fight this even if the computer is wrong.
- It’s not that many votes.
In Yavapai County, 2/3rds of voters in one precinct were mistakenly identified as independent. All of them were given provisional ballots (which as we now know, will not be counted). The election day technician in Yavapai indicates that “this is the same exact thing that voters have been experiencing in Pima and Maricopa County all day.”
- This is a partisan issue from Bernie “whiners”.
This is a voting rights issue. Do we expect free and fair elections in the US or not? Do we say “well this happens everywhere, oh well?” or do we fight for everyone’s right to vote? Do we continue to put up with this simply because we like the outcome? How much did we love the outcome in FL? Would we like democrats to be able to elect Democrats to their state and federal offices in all states — doesn't that mean they need to be able to vote fairly?
- It won’t change anything anyway
In Yavapai County, the total number of votes counted was 8,401 to 7,108. Presumably many of those votes were case by mail. Assuming 60% of them were votes by mail, that means about 6,000 were cast yesterday. If 2/3rds of people hoping to vote as Democrats were turned away due to computer glitch, that could be up to 12,000 voters who were unable to vote — almost as many as the current total.
Maricopa has 218,587 votes and Pima has 98,324 votes. Using this same analysis, 40% of these votes is 126,764. If this represents 1/3rd of voters who tried to vote yesterday (because the other 2/3rds were turned away because of incorrect affiliation in the computer record), then that’s 253,528 voters turned away.
If only 10% were turned away, meaning that 126,764 represents 90% of votes, then more than 14,000 voters were unable to vote yesterday.
The candidates are separated by 72,299 votes.
It could make a difference in the number of delegates apportioned.
So what is the solution?
First and foremost, assuming the DNC does not fight for the rights of Democrats to have fair elections, the Sanders campaign and/or the Arizona Democratic Parter should take steps to protect and preserve the provisional ballots, and people should be told to keep their copies.
Second, attorneys should be brought in to represent voters who can prove the computer record is incorrect, so that their provisional votes can count despite the edict in the image above.
A class action lawsuit by disenfranchised voters should be brought to insist that there are sufficient polling places for them to vote in a reasonable time frame. A separate complaint alleging disenfranchisement on racial basis (lack of polling places in heavily Hispanic areas) should be brought to the Justice Department.
The court should be asked to decide whether anyone who was in line and turned away without voting at all should be given another chance to vote. Apparently they did order that in IL but it was overturned and now it is before the appeals court.
This isn’t about partisan politics or Bernie/Hillary. This is about voting rights. Maybe this IS the hill to stand on, to finally start addressing these travesties.
Calls to investigate reports of voter suppression and disenfranchisement in the Arizona primary are gaining in strength and urgency, as Governor Doug Ducey and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton have now both spoken out against the horrid election conditions, which Bernie Sanders called a “disgrace” in a press conference
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton went further in a personal letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the matter thoroughly and demand answers and justice for those disenfranchised by the mismanagement and incompetence. He noted that more affluent neighborhoods received more polling stations per capita, and also noted that Arizona has a history of voter suppression and a documented history of discarding provisional ballots.
There are a growing number of reports of people in NY, PA, MD, and CA discovering their voter registration has been changed from Democrat, which means they will not be able to vote in upcoming closed primaries. (My understanding is that CA has an open primary).
Please check your voter registration if you are planning to vote in ANY upcoming primary.