PHOENIX (AP/KSAZ) -- A contractor hired to set up voting machines in the Phoenix area failed to send enough technicians, leaving several polling places out of operation during Arizona’s primary election Tuesday, two years after voters endured hours-long lines.
According to a tweet made by Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes on his unverified Twitter page, the set up in 62 polling places had not been complete, as of 6:00 a.m., but all sites were functional by 11:30 a.m.
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
You can still vote, please visit https://t.co/EtammBaKLO for more info. pic.twitter.com/VEXRAho3J0
Fontes said the contractor didn’t set up the machines on time and his office in the state’s most populous county quickly trained and deployed workers to get the machines going once it learned of the issue Monday afternoon.
“This is not a hiccup, this is a serious concern where lots of voters in Maricopa County are not able to get voting,” Fontes said.
>>Arizona Secretary of State's Office - Find your polling place
There were dozens of reports of people who showed up to cast a ballot and were turned away. Fontes made no mention of the troubles during a Facebook Live video he recorded with a voter shortly before polling places opened at 6 a.m.
“We are excited about opening up our polling places in a couple of minutes,” Fontes said.
He said in the video that voters could go to their usual polling places or to any of 40 voting centers that anyone can use regardless of where they live.
His office estimated Monday that some 250 polling locations would not open on time, but it’s unclear how many were actually down by the time polls opened at 6 a.m.
Fontes said he learned of the issue around 2 p.m. Monday and realized by the evening that it “was going to be a real problem.” He said only about 70 of the 103 technicians contracted to set up the machines at individual polling sites showed up.
It comes after Phoenix-area voters waited for hours in massive lines in the 2016 presidential primary after the county drastically cut the number of polling locations. It led to voters ousting the county’s longtime elections chief that November and electing Fontes.
He has pledged to make elections smoother.
Phoenix voter Tyler Knecht, a registered Democrat, said he was frustrated after he first went to a polling station in downtown Phoenix that anyone can use regardless of where they live only to be told to go to his specific polling place.
He then was sent back to the first location and was told he could only cast a provisional ballot, which may be counted once a person’s eligibility is confirmed.
“They made me cast a provisional ballot, and I didn’t want to after what happened in 2016,” Knecht said, adding that he has no expectation it will be counted.
A large number of provisional ballots were thrown out statewide in the 2016 presidential primary.
Another frustrated voter, Ben Saylor, said he arrived at his polling place in north Phoenix and was told the equipment would not be set up until lunchtime. He was directed to a vote-anywhere polling station and also was told he would have to cast a provisional ballot.
“If you’re a registered citizen, and you have the right to vote, there should be no such thing as a provisional ballot,” Saylor said.
BREAKING: Officials knew of problems starting machines at polling places a day before Arizona primary; over 100 calls report issues.— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) August 28, 2018
Maricopa Co. Recorder says many voter issues due to contractors not showing up in time to set up voter precincts. Won’t name contractor, but says there could be legal action taken against them. #AZVotes #Fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/QNrC5Kj0pc— Ty Brennan (@TyFox10) August 28, 2018
Actually-- you can't vote here! My neighborhood precinct - 15th Ave/Northern having IT issues so no one has been able to vote today-- they tell me no one showed up to machines turn on!— Linda Fox 10 (@lindawfox10) August 28, 2018
They suggested trying other central locations like Burton Barr #Elections2018 #Fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/90UKmsZ0GB