At least over forty Republican voters were denied the right to vote for their Pima County Board of Supervisors candidate on Tuesday when a poll worker refused to give them anything but a federal ballot. Federal ballots include only federal races, so State and County-level races were unavailable for consideration.
According to one disenfranchised voter, a female poll worker became angry when they requested a State ballot. The voter claimed the poll worker told them emphatically that ‘people had been complaining about the ballots all day long, but that is the Republican ballot.’ She then insisted the voter use the ballot or leave.
The poll worker, described by witnesses as “a crazy lady waiving her arms everywhere,” was allowed to remain working at the Udall Recreation Center in-person voting site.
County officials had been made aware of the poll worker’s actions by voters earlier in the day, but the poll worker, according to sources, was told to start handing out the correct ballots.
“I was contacted today by a voter who had been given the federal election only ballot and immediately contacted the Pima County Elections Department personnel. It was then that I learned that the poll worker had already been told to ensure voters were given the correct ballot earlier in the day,” said Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller. “It was disappointing to learn that this individual had been allowed to continue working at the poll when it was clear the problem hadn’t been appropriately addressed. I then learned that there was no election observer present when these ballots were questioned by the voters. Elections Director Brad Nelson has stated there is no remedy to correct the situation for the disenfranchised voter. I do question why they couldn’t be allowed to vote a new ballot with the federal elections voided. I do hope more people will volunteer to be poll observers in the future. Voters must have someone to turn to at the polls if they feel they are being disenfranchised. In this case, the voters had no one there to ask for assistance. They were at the mercy of this misguided poll worker. This should scare the hell out of all of us. One disenfranchised voter is one too many.”
“Pima County GOP Chair David Eppihimer told me that one individual reported having the same experience at Precinct 69 at the Glad Tidings Church,” said Miller.
According to Brad Nelson, Pima County’s elections supervisor, once a ballot is turned in, voters cannot vote again.
The precinct in which voters were denied their right to vote is one of the most conservative in the area.
In 2018, Arizona election officials agreed to settle a lawsuit that claimed the state’s two-track voter registration process was unduly burdensome and “irrationally” disenfranchised thousands of voters, according to Cronkite News. As a result, Arizona voters can register for federal elections with a federal registration form that does not require proof of citizenship, but state registration – which is needed to vote in state and local elections – requires “documentary proof of citizenship.”
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“I spoke with multiple voters today who were rightfully unsatisfied with the County response,” said candidate Steve Spain. “The official line I received from one election staffer was that the error was a precinct voter roll that had not been taken out for use, but another official stated only Republicans received indirect ballots. This bears further investigation, and every voter, even candidates like myself, should demand clarity from the County to ensure better systems exist to prevent this in the future. If what that first staffer told me is true, a simple checklist with accurate information could have prevented today’s disaster.”