Secretary of state apologizes for botched election; voters not forgiving

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

It was another day of apologies, but the voters were not in a forgiving mood.

Nearly a week after voters stood in lines for up to six hours to cast their ballot, the state's top election official said she was sorry.

"On behalf of election officials statewide I would like to apologize to the voters who are frustrated or angry," Secretary of State Michele Reagan said.

It was Reagan's first public appearance since last Tuesday's election, and she appeared shaken.

Notably, Reagan admitted she should have been more skeptical of plans to cut the number of polling stations to 60 from 200 in Maricopa County.

"I certainly wished, we should have said maybe you should have considered 90 or 100 (polling locations)."

Ultimately, Reagan claimed it wouldn't have mattered because the state has no authority over county elections officials, who ran the presidential preference election.

Regardless, roughly 200 angry voters packed into a House committee to vent their anger.

[READ: Arizona election foul-ups come under intense scrutiny]

There were repeated calls for the state hold the election again (a request state lawmakers say won't happen), as many believe the results are not valid. The races were called while hundreds will still waiting to cast their ballots.

"The current corruption needs to be held accountable," said one woman during the 3.5-hour long meeting.

The legislative meeting was supposed to be a fact-finding effort -- an attempt to hear from voters about the problems they experienced at the polls.

Instead, it quickly turned into a political bashing.

Many of the people who spoke seemed more interested calling for heads to roll than sharing their voting stories.

Not only did they demand Reagan and Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purple resign, but their anger also was evident in their actions.

At one point about a half-dozen people stood up and turned their backs on Purcell and a county lobbyist as they testified together.

[RELATED: County Recorder takes responsibility for voting debacle]

[RELATED: Many encounter long lines to vote in Arizona primary]

State lawmakers made no decisions during the hearing and there are no plans for legislation at this point.

The chairwoman of the panel, Rep. Michele Ugenti-Rita, R, Scottsdale, did promise to hold field hearings in the future in west Phoenix, south Phoenix and Gilbert. 

In the meantime, Reagan's office is soliciting voter feedback through an online form.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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