AG names independent counsel to investigate 'botched' special election

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Michael Morrissey will investigate errors made by Secretary of State Michele Reagan's office during last month's special election. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Michael Morrissey will investigate errors made by Secretary of State Michele Reagan's office during last month's special election. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Secretary of State Michele Reagan apologized to voters after the controversial presidential preference election in March, for which many people waited for hours at the poll. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Secretary of State Michele Reagan apologized to voters after the controversial presidential preference election in March, for which many people waited for hours at the poll. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Arizona Attorney General appointed an independent counsel Thursday to investigate errors made by Secretary of State Michele Reagan's office during last month's special election.

Mark Brnovich, the state's top law enforcement official, also made several recommendations to ensure Reagan's office didn't repeat the mistakes in the upcoming August primary election. 

Michael Morrissey, a former federal prosecutor, will lead the investigation, the goal of which is to shed light on why the state's top election official failed to mail more than 200,000 election guides on time as required by law.

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Morrissey will operate independently of Brnovich's office.

"Mr. Morrissey's extensive experience as a federal prosecutor provides us with all the confidence that he will conduct a fair, thorough investigation and pursue the answers that Arizona voters deserve," Brnovich said in a letter to Reagan

In the meantime, Brnovich recommended Reagan should carefully review the procedures used to mail out pamphlets as well as quickly announced if she fails to meet those mailing deadlines.

Should there be another error, Brnovich asks Reagan to alert the public within 24 hours.

Reagan was criticized for waiting two weeks after discovering the problem to publicly disclose the guides were not mailed out in time.

Reagan spokesman Matt Robert says she welcomes the inquiry and will consider the recommendation.

This was the second botched election under Regan, who was elected in 2014.

The March Presidential Preference Election was marred by long voting lines after Maricopa County Election officials drastically cut the number of polling locations.

As the state’s top election official, Reagan signed off on the plan, which the county said was done to cut election costs.

PDFs: AG's letter to Secretary Reagan | AG's letter to Morrissey

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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


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