Unlike many Americans, I didn't spend Election Day worried about which candidates would win -- I spent it worried about whether my community's votes would all be counted.
Folks in Maricopa County faced incredible challengess just to exercise the right to vote: excruciatingly long lines, being forced to fill out provisional ballots because of official mistakes, even receiving official notices with the wrong date for election day!
Voter turnout was high despite these barriers. But a week after Election Day, Maricopa County has more than 300,000 early and provisional ballots that still haven't been counted. This one county alone contains almost half of the uncounted provisional ballots for the entire state of Arizona, and more than triple the number of comparative counties.
Pivotal elections hang in the balance. The Senate race between Richard Carmona and Jeff Flake is only separated by around 83,000 votes. But the race that matters most to many in my community is for Maricopa County Sheriff. The current Sheriff, Joe Arpaio has supported anti-immigrant policies and tactics that make virtually anyone with brown skin in Maricopa County a target of police attention.
The media has already declared the winners, even though all the votes haven't been counted. It's like what happened in Florida in 2000 all over again. With races this tight, it is absolutely imperative to the democratic process that all voters' voices be heard.
Arizona law says that Maricopa County only has until November 16 to certify the results of the election, something that's taken place around the country with few problems. Helen Purcell of the Maricopa County Recorder's office should make sure that every single provisional and early ballot cast in the 2012 election is considered by that deadline. Every voter's voice should count.
- Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell
I call on you to count every vote cast in Maricopa County by November 16, according to state law. With mistake after mistake in Maricopa County throwing up new barriers to regular people exercising their right to vote, every day that goes by without a completed vote count casts additional doubt on the fairness and accuracy of the results. Your office can restore faith in the democratic process by taking all necessary steps to conduct a fair, accurate, and swift tallying of the votes cast in the November 6 election.
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