Corrupt Primaries

Isaac Gorgy , Editor-in-Chief

Bernie Sanders supporters are questioning the results of the Arizona primary, after reports of election fraud were revealed. First off, the number of polling stations in Maricopa County was dramatically reduced, resulting in long lines that may have prevented some from voting. People waited at least five hours just to vote. Currently, the mayor of Phoenix requested a public hearing and an investigation regarding this fiasco.

The number of polling places at Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, was reduced from 200 to a mere 60. That left only one polling place for every 100,000 residents in Phoenix. The long line undoubtedly prevented many from voting. To put things in perspective, in the 2012 primary election, there were 300,000 voters and 200 polling place. This year, the voter turnout was 800,000 with only 60 polling places. The idea that the number of polling places does not infringe our voting rights is absurd. Essentially, the disaster in Arizona interfered with political equality.

On top of that, hundreds of voters were still waiting to vote when the Associated Press declared Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump as the winners (AZCentral). For instance, at the Church of the Nazarene, one of the polling sites, there were more the 600 voters in line when polls closed at 7 p.m. Bernie Sanders called the situation a “disgrace.”

Arizona holds closed primaries meaning that you have to be registered with the Democratic, Green, or Republican Party in order to vote. Many people who voted Democratic in past elections reported that their names were not on the list of registered Democratic voters. Others commented that they had been reclassified as Independent or Republican. Unfortunately, anyone who voted provisionally will not have their vote counted. On Reddit, an Arizona voter shared, “Almost every person I know that is a Sanders supporter was given a provisional ballot, including myself. I’m not a sore loser, I’m just pissed that my state is either inept or intentionally doing this. I’m pissed that my vote won’t count.”

Unfortunately, this debacle was not unexpected. Arizona’s Republican-led Legislature cut funding to county offices last year. The election officials projected a $1.9 million shortage in covering the cost of elections this year (NY Times). The state legislature knew about the problems that would occur, but nothing was done to improve the situation. Was this intentional?

Similar problems are appearing in other states as well. Ultimately, state governments need to step in to ensure that budget cuts do not interfere with voting rights.