The presidential primary election in Arizona on Tuesday, March 22 proved to be a stressful day for those Maricopa County voters who chose to cast their ballots in person. The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office opted to cut the number of polling places from 200 in 2012 to just 60 in a cost saving measure, creating long lines that snaked out of the polling places until well after midnight. Some polling places also ran out of ballots, adding fuel to the angry voters’ fire.
Angry voters are pointing fingers at Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, saying she made it almost impossible for them to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The communications manager for Purcell’s office said that cutting the number of polling places “saves a lot of money.” Is saving money a good enough reason to reduce polling places by 60 precent? Many think not.
Purcell has apologized to the public for causing so much distress, but said that she will not resign from her post. Purcell has worked as the county’s recorder for almost 30 years. She said that she did not anticipate that so many people would turn out to vote in Tuesday’s primary, since so many Arizona voters now choose to vote by mail.
How do you think Purcell’s office handled the reaction to the long lines? What course of action do you think is appropriate for Purcell moving forward?