Arizona Primary Controversy

Living in Arizona, and given the recent election events in the state, I thought I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about what was happening in the state.

For the very few of you who aren’t from the USA, here is a basic run-down of how the elections are working:

We have two main parties: Republican (the conservative party) and Democrat (the liberal party). States hold primaries and caucuses so that each party can pick a nominee to run for president. To become the nominee, a certain number of delegates are required from each state. Nominees win delegates based on primary and caucus results. This video is a pretty good explanation, if you need more info:

Arizona recently held a presidential preference election on March 22nd. The rules in Arizona are as such: If you’re an unaffiliated voter, you can’t vote in these elections. You also have an assigned polling place, but you can vote anywhere you want.

Being an unaffiliated voter myself, I couldn’t vote on March 22nd. I’ve had the odd joy(?) of sitting on the sidelines to watch the chaos unfold. The fiasco that is currently underway in Arizona is because some registered Democrats turned up to vote, and their registration was listed as unaffiliated or independent, disqualifying them from voting. Due to low turnouts in previous elections (they used data from the 2008 vote for this decision), the number of polling places was cut down drastically as well. One man in the open hearing on the matter claimed that there was one polling place for nearly 100,000 students in his area (Tempe, I’m assuming). Independent voters are banding together to try and get a bill passed┬áthat will allow them to vote in the future elections like this.

 

USA Mexico Arizona
Photo courtesy of Ken Bosma.

 

The crazy thing is, Hellen Purcell, the Maricopa County recorder, apologized for the mess and the Secretary of State, Michelle Reagan, admitted that they made a miscalculation with the number of polling places. On an open hearing Tuesday, many called for Purcell to resign, the votes to get recounted, and even that they hold a new vote in July. Watching the proceeding was pretty intense: Some people were more composed than others, but the message was clear. People feel as though they were not given a fair opportunity to cast their votes and made their voices be heard.

I’m not sure what the solution will be, but in an election cycle that has been nothing short of surreal, anything seems possible.

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