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DPS makes arrest as voters talk election issues

Posted at 5:04 AM, Mar 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-28 23:06:15-04

One person was arrested after a heated day at the State Capitol. Crowds packed a Monday morning hearing about the long lines voters experienced during last week's presidential preference election.

After the hearing ended, protesters filled into the House gallery. A Department of Public Safety spokesman confirmed law enforcement arrested one person. Video from the gallery showed officers subduing a person as others protested and filmed the incident.

At the hearing, which lasted more than three hours, speakers called for the resignation of Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, a re-vote on the Presidential Preference Election, and numerous election reforms.

 "We are all here for the same purpose: democracy," said Ryan Gero. He suggested the state enact same-day voter registration as a reform.

Dean Palmer explained the hours-long wait at his Glendale polling location.

"Then came the sprinklers. The people in wheelchairs, they got hosed," Palmer said.

Several hundred people attended the hearing, and some groups protested on the State Capitol lawn beforehand.

Purcell also addressed the committee, after being coaxed to the podium by the chairwoman. For the first time, Purcell explained the math behind the decision to reduce polling places to 60 locations.

"I made a giant mistake," Purcell said.

Purcell underestimated turnout. She supplied a chart saying they expected 71,000 in-person voters, based on historical voting behavior and the large number of mail-in ballot voters. In reality, 107,000 voters turned out Tuesday, including provisional ballot voters and mail-in ballot recipients who chose to vote in person instead.

Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, pointed to her district on the map of polling locations, saying, "There is just a giant gaping black hole right here."

"Do you see how messed up this is," committee chairwoman MIchelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, said.

There was discussion about whether election officials felt pressure to reduce the cost of putting on the election.

"You are getting a $1.25 reimbursement rate for registered independents who can not vote in the presidential preference election," said Ugenti-Rita.

"We are still not fully funded for this election," said Purcell.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan explained her support of a bill that would have fully funded the 2016 presidential preference election statewide, but would then force future presidential primaries to be paid for by the political parties themselves.

Take a look at the timeline below for a full recap on what has transpired from the polling issues at the presidential preference election in Arizona. For a full-screen view, click here.