For immediate release
November 8, 2012
Early voters report not receiving ballots in the mail, encountering major problems at the polls; Demonstrations, Phone Banks planned for coming days
PHOENIX – The Arizona Secretary of State has confirmed there are more than 450,000 uncounted votes in Maricopa County–one-third of the total ballots cast. Thousands of new Latino registered voters were forced to vote on provisional ballots because they didn’t receive ballots in the mail or their names did not show up on voter rolls.
Contrary to initial election results, this means Maricopa County’s notorious anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not the confirmed winner, and the same goes for the closely-watched Senate faceoff between Democrat Richard Carmona and Republican Jeff Flake. County Recorder Helen Purcell admitted Wednesday she could not certify the results.
"This is my first election, and I was supposed to get an early ballot but didn’t," said Claudette Arvizu, a 19-year-old Maricopa County voter. "I waited in line for more than an hour only to be told to go to the provisional voting line. I voiced concern that my vote wouldn’t be counted and was brushed off. They made to feel like it was my fault. It was a horrible experience. I just don’t trust the process."
Hundreds of young people involved in the Adios Arpaio campaign are planning a demonstration Thursday at 4 PM urging the county to count all the ballots and allow for complete transparency in the process.
Adios Arpaio activists are also planning a phone bank on Saturday to registered early by-mail voters to see if they received early ballot.
"Out of five people in my family, three of us didn’t receive our early ballots this election," said Giovanni Rodriguez, a Maricopa County voter. "I always vote early by mail because I work 12-hour shifts, and it’s hard to get to the polls. On Tuesday, I tried to vote on my 30-minute break, but because the line was so long, I didn’t get to vote. I’m very frustrated and sad that I didn’t have a say in this election."
This is not the first time we’ve seen signs of voter confusion and suppression in Arizona. The wild undercounting of votes comes just weeks after the same Arizona election office produced materials in Spanish that listed the wrong Election Day.
Latino voters registered in record numbers this election, and whether or not the uncounted votes shift election outcomes, all the votes still must be counted, says Brendan Walsh, co-director of the Adios Arpaio campaign.
"There are some close races here in Arizona, and we must make sure every last vote is counted. Plus, if we want to increase voter participation in this country, we need to make sure new voters, especially Latinos, have a positive experience," said Walsh.