A petition claiming there were cases of voter suppression in the Arizona primary will soon receive a response from the White House, according to 12 News. The petition was made on We The People, which is a platform the White House created where any petition that receives over 100,000 signatures will get a response from the White House.
As of now, the petition has over 110,000 signatures, which means the White House will have to respond to the request to investigate possible cases of voter suppression in Arizona. The petition claims many voters who switched from Independent to Democrat so they could vote in the primary were not allowed to vote, and they want the White House to figure out why this happened.
“Numerous voters who switched from Independent to Democrat could not vote and were turned away or given provisional ballots which in turn were never counted. We the people of the United States of America find this act alarming and would like a complete investigation to uncover the violations that occurred during the Arizona voting on 3/22/2016 and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
Bernie Sanders lost in Arizona on March 22, and his campaign manager has expressed concern over how the voting process played out.
“There’s obviously something wrong with the numbers,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver told CNN.
Sanders himself has expressed disappointment over how the Arizona election was handled. There were many reports of people waiting over five hours to vote.
“In the United States of America, democracy is the foundation of our way of life,” Sanders told CNN. “And 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.”
One of the main issues the White House will have to address when it responds to the petition is the fact that there were so few polling locations in Arizona’s Maricopa County. The county went down from 200 polling locations in 2012 to just 60 in 2016 — a 70 percent reduction. This situation was made worse by the fact that voter turnout went from 300,000 in 2012 to around 800,000 in 2016.
The White House has nothing to do with how many polling places Arizona has, but it can launch an investigation into whether there has been any wrongdoing on the part of Arizona officials who control those factors.
Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell could be the focus of an investigation initiated by the White House, as many have pointed to her as the person at fault. Beyond the petition asking the White House for an investigation, a Change.org petition demanding Purcell be impeached has nearly received its 7,500 signature goal.
Purcell has already taken blame for not properly planning for the election, but she has not said she will resign from her position.
“We certainly made bad decisions, and having only 60 polling places, didn’t anticipate there would be that many people going to the polling places,” she said, according to the Arizona Republic. “We were obviously wrong — that’s my fault. So we’ll certainly look at that for future elections.”
The White House may also respond to the problem with provisional ballots. Many voters who had switched parties recently were given provisional ballots, which can’t be counted unless the voter is registered with one of the main parties. Many Arizona residents are claiming these ballots were often not counted, according to Heavy.
White House responses to petitions are typically even-keeled and don’t determine major policy changes, but just having the White House respond to these claims at all could draw significant attention and interest.
The White House has not commented on when it will respond to the petition or what is the official opinion on how the primary was carried out, but the White House typically responds to petitions in a reasonable amount of time.
[Photo by Pool/Getty Images]