Some Maricopa County residents losing faith in County Recorder Helen Purcell

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-07 01:45:38-04

A polling mix-up in Tempe is creating more worries from voters about County Recorder Helen Purcell. 

Voting rights advocates held a small rally outside the Maricopa County Recorder’s office Thursday, demanding accountability for recent election mistakes.  

First, Purcell was under fire last spring for record long lines in the Arizona Presidential Preference where wait times approached five hours. This month, the wrong polling address was printed on election materials mailed out to roughly 3,500 voters in two Tempe precincts. 

“I will not doubt, in any way, the integrity of the people working in this office. But I do think that mistakes are happening and that's unacceptable in any way for voters,” said Tanner Swanson, Arizona Commission for Election Accountability. 

Swanson and other advocates are tracking this election closely. They’ve even set up a website and hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE) where they’re encouraging the public to report any voting issues that they may run into. 

Purcell, a 28-year veteran of running Maricopa County’s elections, said she is happy to a group of people looking out for voting issues. 

“But if they observe something happen we want to know about it," Purcell said. "I know they're going to go to you, they're going to go to the media. I understand that — but they need to come to us to so we can solve that problem."

With 1.4 million registered voters in this election and more then 700 polling places, Purcell said even perfectly run elections have hiccups.

She said the Tempe polling place changed last minute, which led to the incorrect address to be printed on the first round of election materials.

“We're always going to have polling places that change," Purcell said. "We had other one's besides this one that change at the last minute,” 

But some say Purcell, who is up for re-election, is out of do-overs — even on the small stuff. 

“There's been too many mistakes to keep fighting over whether there's malice or incompetence,” said State Representative Juan Mendez, a Democrat from Tempe. 

“I’ve asked the voters to re-elect me and I’m still saying that,” Purcell said.