Assessment of August 2 primary election gets mixed reviews

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 7:15 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For most folks, the Aug. 2 primary went off without a hitch.

“We had new redistricting, a new system and a lot of new staff,” District 5 supervisor Adelita Grijalva told elections staff. “I thought you did a remarkable job.”

“Many of the fears that were propounded by opponents of the vote centers and e-poll books in the community were completely unfounded,” said District 1 Supervisor Rex Scott. “The voter experience on election day was a positive one.”

But not everyone agrees with those assessments, especially District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy.

“Our office received numerous anecdotal information about voting problems, voting issues that led to a lot of dissatisfaction with the process,” he told the board.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors held a postmortem on the election during it’s Aug. 15meeting to hear concerns about what might need to be fixed and where they were most successful.

There were no big disruptions, but according to Christy there were enough to cause concern.

“The more insecurity it spreads, the more opportunity for conspiracy theories,” he said.

The county became the 12th county in the state to adopt vote centers rather than precincts, a concept about two decades old and only permitted in 18 states.

Christy said they “had delays and hour long waits due to printers not working and voting centers running out of supplies.”

He said in Bear Canyon vote center they “ran out of ballots.”

Another problem he cited was “six voting centers had no Republican watchers at all and two had no Democrats at all.”

Vote centers are required to have representatives of both parties watching over the process.

The board voted to require the Pima County Elections Director and County recorder to prepare a report detailing the issues and concerns and a plan for correcting them. It’s due by the first board meeting in October although the report will first be given to the election integrity commission.