Maricopa County Audit Department Releases Review Of Primary Day

Published: Friday, September 21, 2018 - 9:58pm

The Maricopa County Internal Audit Department issued a review of primary election day, but it left a major question unanswered.

That question is whether a contractor supplied enough technicians on primary day and the day before to set up neighborhood polling locations. Sixty-two polling sites were unopened when voting was supposed to start at 6 a.m.

County Recorder Adrian Fontes said the contractor, Tempe-based Insight, didn’t fulfill its contractual duties. Insight disputes that.

In releasing the review, County Auditor Michael McGee said in a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors that his department is “still in the process of reviewing information related to these services.”

In an echo of McGee, Steve Chucri, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said the new report is to help prepare for November.

“The auditors are identifying problems, at the same time finding solutions given the tight time frame we have, the very short runway between now and the general election." 

The County Recorder’s Office disputed many of the conclusions the audit department made in the preliminary review, and released its own long-awaited report.

One point of confusion for voters was the instruction to vote provisionally at the County’s 40 Vote Centers, which are polling sites where anyone can cast a ballot regardless of where they live. A provisional ballot cast at a Vote Center is counted.

“We recognize this rule created confusion on Election Day, and we are developing ways to provide more clarity in November,” the Recorder’s Office said in its report.

Both the Recorder's Office and the Audit Department agreed: more training for poll workers is needed, as is proactive monitoring of polling sites.

The Auditor’s review recommended training certain poll workers, known as troubleshooters and inspectors, to set up the SiteBook touch screen system that checks-in voters.

The report also suggested providing voters with a handout with the locations of the Vote Centers, as well as a description of what a Vote Center is, versus an assigned polling location.

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