Botched ballots will cost taxpayers $400,000

The voting disaster fiasco went to trial on Monday

Maricopa County taxpayers will have to fork over almost $400,000 to make up for a misprint on 2 million ballots in a May special election.

Half of the money will come from the county recorder's office budget, and the remainder will have to be approved by the County Board, recorder's office spokeswoman Elizabeth Bartholomew told 12 News Monday.

The botched ballots come in the wake of a presidential primary fiasco last month that saw hours-long waits in line.

County Recorder Helen Purcell admited she "screwed up" by cutting the number of polling places by 70 percent from four years ago.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating what happened. Separate lawsuits have been filed in county and federal courts, alleging citizens were deprived of their right to vote.

The 2 million misprinted ballots were uncovered last week when mail-in ballots were sent out to early voters for the statewide special election May 17.

There are two propositions on the ballot: Prop 123, which which would funnel more money to schools from the state land trust fund; and Prop 124, which would tinker with pension rules for police and firefighters.

The Spanish-language title over the text explaining Prop 124, the pension measure, is the same as the title explaining Prop 123, the education initiative.

The Spanish-language text explaining the propositions is accurate.

The County plans to reprint 700,000 ballots for use at the polls on election days. The 1.3 million early voters who received their ballots by mail will get a postcard explaining the error.

The $400,000 will cover the cost of printing and postage, Bartholomew said.

She blamed the error on the County receiving the text for Prop 124 from the State shortly before it had to go to press to print the May ballots.

But she said the County took full responsibility.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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