This is the Maricopa County recorder (R), responsible for overseeing elections in Maricopa Country, home to almost two thirds of the population of Arizona. She reduced the number of polling places from 200 to 60, with the unsurprising result that wait times were in some cases three, and up to five, hours long.
Understandably, some voters were rather upset about this. One local journalist asked the recorder, Helen Burrell, who was to blame.
Her response, and I swear to you this is true (see below):
The voters for getting in line.
It has also been alleged that the reductions in voting sites were concentrated in low-income and minority neighborhoods - places that tend to vote Democrat.
She attributed the high turnout (which was very much in line with what has been seen in other states over the past 2 months) to the interest generated by the candidates. Fair enough. But when asked whether her office was to blame for the failures?
Absolutely not. When you get a lot of people out to vote - is that a failure?
Now, I am not normally a conspiracy theorist, but if I wanted to discourage people from voting in the general election, making them wait in line for five hours to vote in the primary would certainly be a good way to go about it. I might also hope that they will use a postal ballot instead, and fall victim to Arizona's highest-in-the-nation postal ballot rejection rate (>2%, equal to some 46,000 ballots in 2012). I might also make it more difficult to return mail-in ballots by, for example, making it a crime carrying a standard tariff of one year in prison for someone to submit or hand in another person's signed and sealed early ballot (as the Republican-controlled Arizona legislature did in March).
What is it about Republicans and making it more difficult for people to vote?
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