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Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Challenging Arizona’s Disastrous Primary

Voters wait in line to cast their ballot in Arizona’s presidential primary election, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Gilbert, Ariz. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MATT YORK
Voters wait in line to cast their ballot in Arizona’s presidential primary election, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Gilbert, Ariz. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MATT YORK

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Gass has tossed a lawsuit from a Tucson, Arizona voter challenging the March 22 presidential primary, which was marred by confusion, 5-hour lines, and rampant errors.

Judge Gass noted that while “glitches are always something that we need to wary of and we need to work hard, and we need to fix them…they don’t rise to the level of fraud.” He declined the litigant’s request to have the results of the election — big wins for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — thrown out.

“I can’t find that one, there were illegal votes and two…I can’t find it would have made a difference in the outcome of the election,” he said. “The election would have been the same.” The judge added that re-doing the election wouldn’t be fair to the more than 1 million Arizonans who did manage to cast a ballot in March.

Another lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee, the Arizona Democratic Party, the president of the Navajo Nation, and the campaign of Ann Kirkpatrick continues, demanding the U.S. District Court of Phoenix review why the county cut the number of available polling places from 200 to 60, leaving only one voting center for every 21,000 voters. That lawsuit, which is supported by the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, also slams the “state’s arbitrary rejection of provisional ballots at alarming rates, especially those cast by Hispanic voters.”

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The effort could force the state to ensure there are adequate polls open for this November’s general election, which is expected to have a much higher voter turnout.

The Justice Department has launched its own investigation into why Arizona drastically reduced the number of voting sites. Election administrators have said they were trying to save money and expected far more people to vote absentee, but local Arizona officials tell ThinkProgress they do not accept this explanation.

“Money should never be the determining factor if someone should vote or not,” Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo said. “If that really was the issue, I’d be shocked, because no one ever came to the county asking for additional resources. In fact, I was informed by the elections administrators at a public meeting in February that they could handle the costs of this election just fine.”