For all those Arizonans out there worried about voter suppression during the presidential preference vote, rest assured that a local activist with a history of taking on problematic elections is trying to get to the bottom of what happened here. John Brakey, co-founder of AUDIT-AZ (Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency in Elections) filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against election officials, both accusing them of misconduct and demanding a partial recount of ballots. As New Times has written previously, Maricopa County’s attempt to save money by drastically cutting the number of polling stations for the March 22 election totally backfired. Thousands waited more than two hours to vote – some as long as five hours – and the lines at some polling stations still were wrapped around the block as the first results trickled in at 8 p.m.
What’s more, hundreds of people showed up to the polls assuming they were registered as a voter in one party only to be told they were weren’t, and therefore they could only fill out a provisional ballot – according to Dianne Post who worked at a polling station in Phoenix and filed an affidavit in Brakey’s lawsuit, this disproportionally happened to Democratic voters.
The election debacle prompted widespread national criticism, and as allegations of voter suppression began getting thrown around, public election officials accepted blame and promised this would never happen again.
But for those like Brakey – who told New Times that in his estimation, Arizona is one of the most corrupt states in the country – promises about future elections fall flat. He wants Secretary of State Michele Reagan to nullify her certification of the March 22 results, and he wants counties around the state to be randomly subjected to recounts.