A petition urging the White House to investigate voting issues in Arizona is on pace to reach 200,000 signatures in one week. In four days, more than 185,000 people have signed on.
Reports of five-hour waits, fraud, and suppression put a national spotlight on the recent Arizona primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), who lost the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton, has been especially critical of Arizona’s profound problems.
On Tuesday night, people waited in line for 5 hours to vote. We don't know how many didn't get to cast their ballots. This is unacceptable.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 24, 2016
Regular Arizonans as well as some of the state’s elected officials are angry too. Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, cut polling places by 70 percent to save money so that every 108,000 Phoenix residents had one polling place to go. Phoenix is a majority-minority city whose voters turned in exceptionally high numbers for this week’s primaries for both parties.
Here’s the rapidly growing petition:
Petition to have the Obama Administration investigate the voter fraud and voter suppression on 3/22/2016 in ARIZONA. Numerous voters who switched from Independent to Democrat could not vote and were turned away or given provisional ballots which in turn were never counted. We the people of the United States of America find this act alarming and would like a complete investigation to uncover the violations that occurred during the Arizona voting on 3/22/2016 and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wants a Justice Department investigation into the “unacceptable” long lines on Tuesday to “see whether people’s civil rights were violated by this fiasco.” The city was unaware of the drastic cuts that its citizens faced in voting.
Stanton argued that “working-class folks can’t wait in line for five hours, they’ve got to go to their jobs.”
An even larger issue looms as November’s general election approaches.
Ever since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to gut portions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, a lack of federal oversight means more profound voting issues may be right around the corner.
“This doesn’t appear to have been caused by the intention to make it harder for anyone to vote, but by bureaucratic incompetence,” Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told the New York Times. “Section 5 was very important in catching these screw-ups, a second pair of eyes that just aren’t there anymore.”