PIMA COUNTY, AZ ( Tucson News Now) - KOLD News 13 received numerous complaints about the voting process during the state's Presidential Preference Election earlier this week.
Several viewers said they were told they could not vote because they were registered as independents, despite years of voting as a Democrat or Republican.
Only registered Republicans, Democrats and Green Party members were eligible to cast their ballot in the preference election. The more than one million independents in Arizona had no say in the process, leaving many frustrated and calling for a change. There was even a small protest Wednesday, March 23, in downtown Tucson.
Things were much worse in Maricopa County, where residents waited several hours to vote at some locations. After first blaming the voters, election officials reversed course and admitted they were to blame. Due to cutbacks, there were only 60 polling places open in the county, which is home to 1.2 million eligible voters.
The Pima County Recorder's Office on Wednesday announced plans to mail new voter notification cards to all 495,000 registered voters in the county.
The new cards are expected to clear up any future confusion about party affiliation. On the cards, voters should pay particular attention to the party affiliation section.
The three-letter designation refers to the following:
• DEM: Registered with Democratic Party
• REP: Registered with Republican Party
• IND: Registered as an Independent with no party affiliation.
• GRN: Registered with Green Party
• LBT: Registered with Libertarian Party
• PND: Party not designated
If a voter finds any errors or outdated information on their card, they should contact the recorder's office at (520) 724-4330.
F. Ann Rodriguez, the Pima County Recorder, said the mailing process will take a little over a week and everyone should receive their new card by Monday, April 4. If you do not, please call the Recorder's Voter Registration Division at 520-724-4330.
Voters are asked to destroy their old card once they receive their new one so that there is no confusion when going to the polls.
Rodriguez said it's a great way to test everyone's address and clean up the voter registration rolls.
"Federal law does not allow us to remove a voter from the voter registration roll unless undeliverable mail is returned to our office," Rodriguez said.
If you receive a card for a voter who no longer resides at your address, you are asked to write a note stating that the person no longer lives at that address and place card back in the mail. No postage is necessary
The next voting date for Pima County residents is the special election set for May 17. The biggest issue will be Prop 123, the $3.5 billion education funding proposal.
As for independents not being allowed to cast their vote in the preference election, that issue will take care of itself.
There is a bill in the legislature to change the system, but right now it's bogged down in procedures and stalled in the Senate.