Arizona independents are having a difficult time voting in in their state. Some — like in Pinal County — were sent the wrong ballot just weeks before the election, while thousands — like in Maricopa County — did not initially receive the early voting ballots they requested earlier this month.
There are just two weeks before the Arizona primary elections, and some independent voters in Pinal County, and other places, have been sent the wrong ballot. The Pinal County Recorder’s Office reports that the issue specifically affects independents who changed their party affiliation after the 2016 presidential primary.
The Recorder’s Office says that “voters not registered to a recognized party” who are on the permanent early voting list were sent a ballot for the party they were registered with in the 2016 primaries. Elections officials point to an outdated voter registration system as the source of the problem.
Voters are being told they can vote on the ballot they were given, discard it, or contact the Pinal County Recorder’s Office for a new ballot.
Earlier this month, it was reported that nearly 2,000 independent voters did not receive the early voting ballots they requested in Maricopa County because of a website malfunction. Maricopa County reports that nearly 1,200 of these voters have been successfully contacted to resolve the issue.
Maricopa County is the subject of a newly launched investigation by Arizona Independents United, which is looking into other rampant election administration problems, like vast numbers of valid ballot petition signatures being discarded, registered voters not showing up in the active voter rolls, and more.
Reports suggest that independent voters have been disproportionately affected by these issues, and at the foundation appears to be outdated and inadequate systems used in Arizona’s semi-closed primaries.
In Arizona, independents can participate on the party primary ballot of their choice. Voters registered with a qualified political party (Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, and now Green), however, must vote in the primary they are registered with.
Right now, it appears Arizona is struggling to efficiently keep track of and provide for the growing number of people who are choosing to ditch the party label. This highlights the importance of having a system that treats all voters equally — both in the administration of these elections AND at the ballot box.