DOJ Probing Arizona Primary Disarray

The U.S. Department of Justice has notified the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office that it is looking into the handling of the March 22 Arizona primaries, after voters were forced to wait in line for as long as five hours. The number of polling places was cut to 60 from the 2012 total of 200, and many polling locations had to stay open well past midnight in order to accommodate the numbers. Chris Herren, chief of the department’s civil-rights voting section, has asked for key pieces of information be turned over before April 22, including data totals, details on staff, response to the public outrage, and lists of polling locations. County Recorder Helen Purcell and Elections Director Karen Osborne have said they anticipated voter turnout to be so much lower based on the number of eligible voters and the number of early voting ballots. More than twice the number they’d estimated showed up at polling locations.