Voting rights advocates Wednesday said the March presidential preference election amounted to voter suppression and proposed renewing federal election standards to protect voters. Community leaders representing numerous advocacy groups, along with Democratic Congressional representatives, said at a forum at the Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church in south Phoenix that the long wait times at Maricopa County election sites prevented many people from voting. “Let’s just make clear what happened. There was voter suppression,” Congressman Ruben Gallego said. Maricopa County had only 60 polling places, including one serving all of south Phoenix for the March 22 election, said Gallego, a Democrat who represents the area.
Thousands of voters faced long lines, with many waiting hours after the polls closed, some turned away and others offered a provisional ballot when their party registration did not match voter rolls.
Gallego called it “an absolute debacle caused by our county recorder” and said that failures like this discourage minority voters from turning out for future elections.
“This disproportionately affected our minority communities,” Gallego said. “When they believe that their vote is not counted or when they believe that there is an active suppression of their vote that is occurring during the election cycle, it makes it more difficult for us to get out their vote later.”
Full Article: Voting rights advocates condemn March voting process.