Pima County still trying to work out election issues with 35 days to go

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 7:16 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The 2022 primary election in Pima County on Aug. 2 used a new election system called vote centers. It does away with the old precinct method which forced voters to cast ballots in an assigned precinct and if not, their votes did not count. Under vote centers, voters can cast their votes in any one of 129 locations.

But as with any new system there were a few bugs. Some vote centers didn’t have enough ballots, a few printers failed, some training was lacking, and some voters were given the wrong information. None of them affected the outcome. All of them were fixed but they are vehicles for mistrust.

With only 35 days until the general election and so much doubt hanging in the air, nerves are a bit raw, and emotions are beginning to kick in gear.

Which is why the Pima County Board of Supervisors called in the Elections Director and County Recorder to come in and answer questions that may still be unresolved.

The county board spent more than an hour this morning trying to dispel concerns over voting irregularities, things which seemed inconsequential in elections past are magnified now. Such as the few who try to cast an early ballot and then vote on election day. But the board was told electronics, the epoll books, have put a stop to that.

“If there’s an additional ballot for that same person, we won’t be able to count that second ballot,” said Gabriella Cazarez-Kelly, the Pima County Recorder. “They will be referred to the county attorney’s office for double voting.”

Or the concern about having an equal number of Republicans and Democrats as observers at all polling places. Republicans are hard to find to fill those positions these days.

“I am working with the Republicans,” County Elections Director Constance Hargrove told the board. “We are trying to work out a way for individuals to go out to Sells.” Sells is on the reservation, but Hargrove also said there are a few other areas having these issues.

“If these issues aren’t either resolved one way or another to everyone’s satisfaction, we’re going to have the same cycle of conspiracy theories, lack of confidence, distrust,” said Steve Christy, the District 4 Supervisor. “It’s important that these issues be taken seriously and addressed.”