County officials say contracted workers are to blame for issues that voters are seeing at polling places across the Valley on Tuesday.
Many viewers contacted ABC15 Tuesday morning, reporting that they had been turned away from their polling places for a variety of reasons. The issues reportedly included technical and computer problems, and even not receiving election material, voters say.
In a Tuesday morning press conference, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said more than 100 contracted employees were set to visit the 503 voting sites on Monday, but about 30 of the workers never showed up to the job, leaving some polling places unchecked.
In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, Fontes said 62 polling places in the county were not ready to go at 6 a.m., when all polling sites were supposed to open.
UPDATE: As of 6:00 a.m., the set up in 62 polling places had not been completed. All sites were functional by 11:30 a.m. We will be providing additional information as soon as it is available.
— Adrian Fontes (@RecorderFontes) August 28, 2018
According to Fontes, his office was alerted to the issues Monday afternoon, and he had to have some of his own department's employees deploy to the sites to assist in addressing the challenges.
Fontes said they've worked with the contractor before, but are now considering legal action against the company after receiving "way too many" reports of issues.
"One voter having problems is too many as far as I'm concerned," Fontes said in the news conference.
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) August 29, 2018
The problems come as officials expected a record number of voters to turn out for the high-profile primary election. Those voting on Tuesday were being directed to other locations to vote if there were issues at their polling place.
A representative from Insight says they provided staffing for polling locations. According to their representative, they met all requests made by the state.
“Insight was engaged by the county to provide 83 technicians to provide technical support to set up voter validation machines at polling sites on Monday and to have 40 technicians available on Election Day to assist with additional technical support as needed. Insight actually provided 85 technicians yesterday and 60 today."
Results of Tuesday's election are being updated live on ABC15.com/results.
Unfortunately, Arizona is no stranger to polling problems. Voters had widespread issues during the 2016 election.
— Megan Thompson (@MeganABC15) August 28, 2018
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich released the following statement Wednesday:
“As a lifelong Arizonan, I can’t remember a period in the past where we experienced as many problems as we've had recently with our voting. These missteps have contributed greatly to many people losing faith and confidence in our electoral process. There’s an old saying, ‘Fix the problem, not the blame.’ I’m tired of election officials casting fault on each other or blaming unforeseen circumstances. I encourage the Board of Supervisors to conduct a thorough review and determine what went wrong, when people knew about the problems, and whether officials appropriately worked to fix them. I look forward to a day when Arizona has an election that’s not a debacle.”
Steve Chucri, the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, announced Wednesday an audit would take place to determine what went wrong.
"I don't really want to know what the excuses are," Chucri said. "I want to know what really went wrong and how do we learn from it and fix it."
Chucri told ABC15 he was not made aware early on of the apparent problems at dozens of polling locations. Fontes admitted he was aware of potential issues on Monday, although problems were not made public until Tuesday, hours after voters began reporting issues at the polls.
"Maricopa County can do better," Chucri said.
In a dispute over the number of technicians that were made available during the election process, both Fontes and a company contracted to help set up the election equipment, are pointing the finger at each other.
"The overall goal of the audit is to learn what went wrong," Chucri said. "Was it, in fact, an issue with the contractor? Was it, in fact, unpreparedness by the recorder? Whatever the case might be, what happened?"
Chucri says he is personally getting involved to try and ensure voters don't have the same types of issues in November.
The Maricopa County Recorder's Office declined ABC15's request for an interview on Wednesday. Fontes previously apologized to voters.
In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Fontes identified the precincts which were unable to check in voters at 6 a.m. They are:
0044 Glendale Christian Church
0050 Black Canyon
0084 Capitol School
0131 Contention Mine
0145 Country Gables
0148 Coyote Basin
0157 Crossroads Park
0173 Desert Bell
0175 Desert Cove
0180 Desert Hills
0198 Dreamland Villa
0199 Dreamy Draw
0215 El Domingo
0353 Lakeview Recreation Center
0394 Magic Stone
0418 Mesa Linda
0444 Daisy Mountain Fire Station
0458 Mountain View Rec Center
0464 Orangewood Farms
0472 Palm Valley
0479 Palo Verde
0532 Reed Park
0563 San Angelo
0570 Mountain View Park Comm Ctr
0571 San Victor
0664 Litchfield Elem Support Serv
0678 Trevor Browne
0720 Westward Ho