Voters call for DOJ investigation into ballot concerns

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by Natalie Brand

Bio | Email | Follow: @NatalieBrand

azfamily.com

Posted on November 9, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 9 at 7:20 PM

PHOENIX -- Arizona activist groups are calling for an investigation by the Department of Justice into growing concerns over uncounted ballots.

The Secretary of State’s Office released new numbers Friday afternoon revealing more than 524,000 ballots statewide must still be counted.

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office also released new numbers, showing more than 219,000 early ballots and 120,000 provisional ballots must still be counted.

While the Secretary of State’s Office said the number of provisional ballots is similar to the numbers from 2008, concerned groups worry a high number of provisional ballots may have been handed out in error, especially in predominately Latino precincts.

“We are calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the many irregularities we are seeing not just in Maricopa County but across the state," said Monica Sandschafer of One Arizona.

“There’s no indication any of the counties were treating some places differently than others,” said Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

Bennett said the focus of election workers right now remains accurately counting and verifying the remaining ballots.

“Every (provisional ballot) will be checked, and if it can be counted, it will,” he said.

Provisional ballots are handed out when a voter’s name isn’t on the signature roster, or if they don’t have the required ID.

Between redistricting and a large number of newly registered and first time voters, some of the concerned citizens describe confusion at the polls on Tuesday and frustration over the ongoing process of counting.

“My vote has not been counted yet,” said Guadalupe Councilman Andrew Sanchez, who said his check of the recorder’s website showed his ballot was still pending.

“What matters is that everyone’s vote counts,” said Sanchez.  “We need someone watching, because we can’t do it.”

Activist groups have set up a hotline number for voters with concerns at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

A call by 3TV to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division went unreturned on Friday.

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office also declined to comment on Friday, saying their job right now is to count ballots.

 To watch video of the ballot tabulating process, visit: http://recorder.maricopa.gov/elections/Live_Feeds/btcgallery

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