Sanders, Clinton to Sue Arizona Election Officials Over Minority Access to Polls
The Democratic National Committee is expected to file a lawsuit on Friday against Arizona officials who they say caused long waits at primary polls, Reuters reported. The federal claim centers on the reduction in polling locations in Maricopa County, the most populous county in the state.
Democrats say the scarcity of voting sites for the March 22 primary caused people to wait as long as five hours. According to the Washington Post, the suit claims that the county’s black, Hispanic, and Native American neighborhoods were hit particularly hard, with less voting sites than white areas, and in some cases, no polling locations. It also refers to what a DNC statement called the “arbitrary rejection of provisional ballots at alarming rates,” which they say restricted the rights of minorities.
The defendants in the case are Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Joining the DNC against them are the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Arizona Democratic Party, former Navajo Nation leader Peterson Zah, and the Senate campaign for Ann Kirkpatrick, who is looking to challenge John McCain. According to Reuters, the campaigns for both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders said they would join as well.
There were only 60 voting sites on the day of the primary, down from 200 in 2012. Reuters reported that officials said the decrease was a cost-cutting measure. Governor Doug Ducey came out against it, and the county took the blame for the long wait times, saying they underestimated voter turnout. Purcell told CNN that there was no intention to prevent people from being able to vote.
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