How Pinal County derailed Arizona’s first night


MIncidents in Pinal County, Arizona are fueling voter fraud allegations already fueled by candidates peddling denial of the 2020 election.

About 20 precincts in Arizona’s third-most populous county reported ballot shortages, forcing election officials to print more ballots and begging voters to wait long periods to vote. Two days later, many races still have around 15% to 20% votes outstanding, and several races have yet to be called.


“This is a complete failure that disenfranchises Arizonans and illustrates why Republican-led efforts for transparency at the ballot box are so important,” said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and President of Arizona Republican Kelli Ward after Tuesday’s unrest.

Amid uproar over ballot shortages, the county announced that its chief electoral officer, David Frisk, was ‘no longer employed’, ABC 15 reported. Archivist Virginia Ross has been appointed Chief Electoral Officer “effective immediately”.

“As a board, we are deeply embarrassed and frustrated by the mistakes that were made in this primary election, and as such we are taking immediate action to ensure the November election runs smoothly, such as elections in Pinal County always did before this primary,” said Jeffrey McClure, chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.

As many as 750 voters in the county were affected by the ballot debacle, but it’s unclear whether it stopped any voters from voting, according to Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer. Voters who traveled to polling stations mired by a shortage of ballots were given the option of waiting or returning later in the day to cast their ballots.

Shortages hit 2.5%, or about 25 of more than 900 types, he added at a news conference on Wednesday. Not all Pinal County precincts that reported shortages or requested extra ballots ultimately ran out, he added.

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, the demand for ballots exceeded what the county had produced. Volkmer attributed the shortfall to human error, the fact that there had been a myriad of spoiled ballots, an increase in the county’s population, and an unexpected number of independent voters weighing in on the primary.

“We opened the ballot boxes and there weren’t enough ballots…so we’re not sure how that happened,” McClure explained at a press conference Wednesday.

This is the second election snafu in Pinal County in recent weeks. Last month, the county sent some 63,000 erroneous ballots to voters that were rife with errors such as inaccurate local races or missing contests.

The failures in Pinal County have the potential to further erode confidence in the election in a state that was a hotbed of election denialism, particularly in Maricopa County. Despite the fact that many Trump-aligned candidates, such as Senate candidate Blake Masters and Secretary of State hopeful Mark Finchem, claimed victory in their respective races on Tuesday night, many who questioned the validity of the 2020 election results take Pinal County as an example. flaws in the electoral process.

Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who cast doubt on the 2020 election, seized on the uproar, to declare that she does not have confidence in the way the election went and that she was plagued with “major problems”. Lake declared victory in his gubernatorial race, although most outlets did not call the race due to his narrow lead. His race is the most important contest in Arizona in which a winner has yet to be declared by most outlets.

Volkmer was adamant that Pinal County’s lack of ballots was a simple “mistake” and nothing nefarious was brewing.

“There’s nothing sinister – it wasn’t like we were saying, ‘Hey, this will only affect a Republican. … It was prevalent. It was equal opportunity. It was just a mistake,” Pinal County District Attorney Kent Volkmer pleaded with voters.

Pinal County officials hope to reassure the public that they will get to the bottom of things and take corrective action, urging residents to judge the county by its future actions. Volkmer and McClure have indicated they are willing to seek outside help for an independent audit.

“We’re looking at restructuring the way we run our elections department. And that’s part of the conversations,” McClure said. “We have to look forward to that. We have to resolve the issues that we just had, quickly, and we have to move on and be positive about it.”


Despite concerns about electoral integrity, many Trump-aligned candidates have won, much to the chagrin of those like Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Arizona Sen. MAGA candidates peddling slander about the integrity of elections in the state.

While Arizona was once solidly red, the state has shifted toward Democrats in recent years, supporting President Joe Biden in 2020 and electing two Democratic senators in recent years. Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D-AZ) bid to defend his seat is expected to be one of the nation’s most hotly contested races in November.


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