Poll workers describe widespread problems in Pinal County during primary election
PINAL COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- One by one, poll workers and voters stepped up to the microphone Wednesday to tell the Pinal County Board of Supervisors all the things that went wrong in this month’s primary election.
“Everything ran smoothly until we ran out of ballots,” said one poll worker. “None of the other elections were chaos like this one,” said another. A lack of training for poll workers was one of the “hot topic” issues discussed.
But by far, the biggest issue was the lack of ballots available on primary day, forcing voters to wait for hours or come back later if they wanted to cast their ballot. “It took two hours before the ballots showed up,” poll worker Steve Powe said. “We want to believe that most people came back and voted, but I don’t know how much apathy there was at that point.”
State Senator Kelly Townsend (R), who lost her bid to return to the Senate, believes a large number of voters were disenfranchised, prompting Townsend to file a lawsuit against Pinal County. “The question is, how many were denied the right to vote,” said Townsend. “What I keep hearing from legal council is, it’s not enough to change the election. First of all, it doesn’t matter, if one person’s vote was denied, that’s a 14th amendment violation.”
Right after the primary election, the Board of Supervisors fired election director David Frisk, replacing him with Virginia Ross. Ross explained Wednesday that the ballot shortage was based on a miscalculation of the number of voters that would show up in person.
She also addressed the changes they plan to make before the next election. They include:
- Hire an outside election consultant
- Create four new positions in election department, including two deputy directors
- Revamp poll worker training
- Create a task force
“What this gives us is professionals with knowledge in positions where there is a need,’ said Pinal County Attorney Ken Volkmer. “Somebody who can check, not anybody that’s on an island that if one person screws up, they fall through.”
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.