Is there possible trouble brewing in Pima County election-day voting?
I just stood in line to vote for the first time in 20 years of voting in Pima County. There were five people at my polling place standing off to the side with two election officials on cell phones. When I asked what was going on, I was told the people were at the wrong polling place thanks to the county’s consolidation of voting areas. The county consolidated about 420 polling places to 288 this year because early voting had reduced the need for so many election-day polls.
Once one of the election officials got off the phone I asked him why they didn’t have a laptop or something there so people could just look up their polling place. He said they were only allowed to call a county elections number to help people find the right place. (I didn’t identify myself as a journalist, so I’m not giving his name).
He said he didn’t think the county had enough people working the phone bank because the average hold times were about 10 minutes. I asked if the five people there then was unusual or if this had been going on all morning (I voted at 8:30) he said “it’s been like this all morning”).
One of the people there had gone to the polling place he usually went to and they didn’t have his name and sent him to the one I was at (Butterfield Elementary School). They didn’t have his name either. The person on the phone at Pima County told him they didn’t know either, they didn’t think he was a registered voter, but he was holding his voter registration card in his hand. They gave him a provisional ballot.
One of the guys in line in front of me was holding the yellow card the county mailed out to all registered voters when he went up to the table to sign in. They couldn’t find his name and asked to see his yellow card. It said he was to vote at the nearby Unitarian church. He said “But I’ve always voted at Butterfield.” The poll worker told him things had changed and showed him on the card where it said he was to go. He said he’d read that, but thought it was a mistake because “I’ve always voted at Butterfield.”
I’ve been trying to call Pima County elections the past half hour to ask someone about my experiences at Butterfield and whether it’s going on all over the county, but all I get is a busy signal.