Arizona governor: Long voting lines 'unacceptable'

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday that the hours-long wait to vote Tuesday in Maricopa County was "unacceptable" and demanded that elections officials ensure it doesn't happen again.

PHOENIX - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday that the hours-long wait to vote Tuesday in Maricopa County was "unacceptable" and demanded that elections officials ensure it doesn't happen again.

Ducey also urged that registered independent voters be allowed to cast ballots in primaries without have to re-register with a party. 

"A big part of yesterday's problem was registered voters showing up, and being told they couldn’t vote," the governor said in a prepared statement.

"That's just wrong. If people want to take the time to vote they should be able to, and their vote should be counted."

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At one downtown Phoenix polling place, the last ballot was cast at 12:19 a.m. Wednesday, by a voter who had waited in line more than four hours.

Ducey's statement doesn't mention the county's 70 percent reduction in polling places from the presidential primary four years ago.

The Republican governor's statement - and his implied criticism of Republican County Recorder Helen Purcell, the county's top elections official -- is a sign that the voting fiasco during the Arizona primary is a bipartisan issue. Voting waits were long all day long in Democratic and well as Republican districts. 

Arizona Elections Director Eric Spencer, who reports to Secretary of State Michele Reagan, told me early Wednesday morning Reagan's office would review what happened at the polls. Spencer was watching the final votes being cast at the Phoenix polling place at 3rd Avenue and Fillmore.

There were several other developments Wednesday:

-Republican Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery was scheduled to discuss the long wait to vote at his regular news conference Wednesday.

-The Republican-controlled Maricopa County Board, which formally approved the reduction in polling places, was also expected to discuss the issue Wednesday. An attorney for the Arizona Democratic Party will be present.

-A petition was started on the White House "We the People" page, calling for an investigation of the vote. 

PHOTOS: Voters hit the polls, March 22, 2016

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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