The Democratic National Committee and both the party’s two presidential hopefuls sued Arizona on Thursday, accusing the state of voter suppression.
The complaints stem from the March 22 presidential primary which produced several complaints about long lines and misregistered voters that the Democrats blame on the Republican-dominated legislature trimming the number of polling places.
According to CNN, at least 20 Democratic voters told the state party they were prevented from voting in the closed primary over registration lists that said they were independents, thus ineligible.
The lawsuit seeks “to reverse Arizona’s culture of voter disenfranchisement prior to the 2016 election … we believe the right to vote is our most fundamental right — the right that defends all of our other rights. Democrats also know that when we see injustice, we must act,” DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said.
Besides the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns, other parties to the lawsuit include the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Arizona Democratic Party.
Some of the most vivid images came from a polling station in Maricopa County, where lines snaked around for blocks and some people said they still were not allowed to vote.
“What happened in Arizona is a disgrace. I hope that every state in this country learns from that and learns how to put together a proper election where people can come in and vote in a timely manner and go back to work,” Mr. Sanders said after the primary, which he lost to Mrs. Clinton.
A spokeswoman for Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said the problems were innocent errors and not an effort to suppress turnout.
“Helen’s career has been focused on trying to make voting easier and more accessible. There was absolutely no way she tried to make it harder for voters to vote or to suppress anyone from voting,” Elizabeth Bartholomew told CNN last week.
Republicans cut the number of polling stations in Maricopa County from about 200 in 2012 to about 60 this time around.
Mrs. Wasserman Schultz’s Thursday statement also blamed, consistent with longstanding Democratic warning, a 2013 Supreme Court decision striking a part of the federal Voting Rights Act.
The justices limited federal oversight of state elections and Democrats say the requirements that many jurisdictions, Maricopa County among them, had to get federal pre-approval to make even the slightest changes in elections procedures would have prevented last month’s lines.
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