Monday’s hearing on voter suppression and election fraud in Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election revealed a slew of failures, which took place at virtually every level of government, all of which contributed to the state’s March 22 election fiasco.
At the top of the list of people to blame is the state’s legislature, which failed to provide funding for Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election in the state’s 2015 budget. Although the legislature made promises to fix the budget, that fix never happened.
In Maricopa County, where voter suppression issues were the most obvious on election night, the number of polling places was slashed from 400 in 2008, to 200 in 2012. But in 2016, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell slashed that number again, leaving just 60 polling sites open for an area that has a population of more than four million people.
But it wasn’t just the lack of polling locations that contributed to the tremendously long lines. The locations that were open were inappropriately small, some with as few as six voting booths on site.
Worse, as thousands of voters waited in line outside the polling locations, half the voting booths were purposely left empty by poll workers, who trickled voters in as slowly as possible.
During the hearing, angry Maricopa County residents told stories of being forced to wait more than six hours to cast a ballot in the Presidential Preference Election. Some talked about how the incredibly long lines and lack of accommodations for people with disabilities made it impossible for them to cast a ballot at all.
A poll worker testified that the system in her district attempted to force her to give Republican ballots to Democratic voters throughout the day. To her credit, she gave those voters paper ballots and recorded every person that was impacted by the supposed system failure.
Secretary of State Michele Reagan testified about what she claims were multiple unintended failures which occurred on the Secretary of State’s website.
Those ‘mishaps’ ranged from the system’s failure to identify registered voters when the information was entered in lower-case letters, to the system ‘accidentally’ showing 100 percent reporting, along with patently false election results, at least six hours before the last vote was cast.
One of the most important things to come out of the hearing, however, was Secretary of State Reagan’s acknowledgement that voter registration information was tampered with.
When asked if there was any truth to the widespread allegations that the party affiliation of voters was changed ahead of the election, Reagan immediately responded by saying “Yes.”
She then told the election committee,
“This is something that I know happened, and I know it happened to people in this room. It is not hearsay. It happened to someone in my own office.”
Watch this video clip from her testimony below.
On Monday, Anonymous released the preliminary results of their own investigation into Arizona election fraud.
So far the group has confirmed 151 voters whose party affiliation was altered ahead of the Arizona primary. Of those, Anonymous has verified that 12 republicans, 139 Democrats and one voter of unidentified party affiliation were impacted.
The group further confirms that of the 139 Democrats they have identified thus far, two were Hillary Clinton supporters, 113 were Bernie Sanders supporters and 24 were of unknown preference.
Anonymous is trying to determine if the voter database was hacked.
During the hearing, Geoff Woods of Phoenix Rising Media testified that his organization is aware of at least 4,000 people whose party affiliation was changed.
Secretary of State Reagan stated that her office handled more than 2,000 calls on election day, while acknowledging that the lack of staffing at her agency likely resulted in many calls going unanswered.
After the Arizona legislature made the decision to shut down the hearing, in spite of the fact that many more disenfranchised voters had waited for hours to have their turn to speak, the hearing ended in chaos.
At least one person was arrested, as hundreds of citizens looked on in disbelief. “Is this America?” one man shouted.
The citizens of Arizona are demanding a federal investigation into the May 22 election fiasco.
Image credit: Video screen capture via Fox 10 Phoenix on youtube