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Arizona Is No Accident

Don’t blame the voters.

The five-hour wait times to cast a vote in Arizona weren’t an accident and, contrary to the Maricopa County Recorder’s initial claim that voters caused the problem by “showing up,” the blame lies in the GOP’s deliberate attempt to restrict access to the ballot box.

“The Republican Party wants us to believe that the long lines and voter confusion in Arizona were an anomaly, rather than a result of their partisan efforts to undercut the electoral process,” said Pratt Norton Wiley, the National Director of Voter Expansion at the Democratic National Committee. “There’s a reason why Arizona was subject to regulations on the Voting Rights Act; it’s because of the history of discrimination in the state. We’ve seen Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country pass a spate of restrictive voting laws since a key provision of the Voting Rights Act was invalidated by the Supreme Court nearly three years ago. Republicans in Congress have so far shown no interest in restoring these critical voting protections. We must elect Democrats at all levels of government who will protect the right to vote – not take it away.”

See what media outlets across the country have been saying this week:

Arizona’s voting outrage is a warning to the nation
THE WASHINGTON POST // E.J. DIONNE JR.
It’s bad enough that an outrage was perpetrated last week against the voters of Maricopa County, Ariz. It would be far worse if we ignore the warning that the disenfranchisement of thousands of its citizens offers our nation.

There Were 5 Hour Lines to Vote in Arizona Because the Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act
THE NATION // ARI BERMAN
Aracely Calderon, a naturalized citizen from Guatemala, arrived just before the polls closed at 7 PM in downtown Phoenix to vote in Arizona’s primary last night. “When Calderon arrived, the line spanned more than 700 people and almost 4 blocks,” the Arizona Republic reported.

Angry Arizona Voters Demand: Why Such Long Lines at Polling Sites?
THE NEW YORK TIMES // FERNANDA SANTOS
Cynthia Perez, a lawyer, stopped by a polling site on her way to work here on Tuesday, thinking she could vote early and get on with her day. She changed her mind when she found a line so long she could not see the end of it.

With weakened Voting Rights Act, some Arizona voters wait hours
MSNBC // ZACHARY ROTH
Some voters in Arizona’s largest county waited five hours to vote Tuesday, after local election officials, looking to save money, slashed the number of polling places on offer.

County Supervisor: ‘Unanswered Questions’ In Why Arizona’s Election Went So Wrong
THINKPROGRESS // ALICE OLLSTEIN
In a primary election marked by confusion, inaccessibility, and blatant voter suppression, Tuesday night’s fiasco in Maricopa County, Arizona marked a new low.

What happened in Arizona wasn’t an accident: When states make voting impossible, it’s for a very clear reason
SALON // BOB CESCA
Once again, an American election was unnecessarily thwarted by long lines and not enough ballots. To say there’s no excuse for such nonsense, especially in a nation that prides itself on its representative democracy and, yes, its exceptionalism, is understating the problem.

CityLab: Big Problems With Arizona’s Primary Were Avoidable, Yet Inevitable
CITYLAB // BRENTIN MOCK
Arizona’s primary election on Tuesday was disastrous, especially for many black, Latino, and Native American voters. In Phoenix, people waited hours in line—some past midnight— to vote because the state closed 140 polling places that were open for the 2012 elections. Why would local election supervisors commit to so many closures during one of the most electrifying presidential elections in decades?

Forget democracy abroad. Let’s worry about Arizona.
STAR-LEDGER // EDITORIAL BOARD
Remember when tens of thousands of people waited in the hot sun to vote in the very first election of the independent nation of South Sudan? It was just like Arizona’s 2016 presidential primary election, except the lines in the South Sudanese capital were shorter.

Voters in Arizona had to wait in line for hours to cast ballots. Here’s why that matters.
VOX // MICHELLE HACKMAN

On Tuesday evening, as polls closed in Arizona, reports began emerging that voters in the state’s most populous county, Maricopa County, were waiting in hours-long lines to cast ballots.

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