Arizona Democrats want the Department of Justice to investigate why some Arizona voters were made to wait for hours to vote in Tuesday’s primary. Some voters stood in line for five hours waiting to cast their ballots. Some didn’t even get the chance to vote once they made it inside the polling place.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton requested that Attorney General Loretta Lynch look into the matter.
“Because of the unacceptably disparate distribution of polling locations, I respectfully request the U.S. Department of Justice investigate what took place in Maricopa County to ensure all voters are treated equally under the law,” Stanton wrote, Wednesday.
The long waits in Maricopa County were caused by a decreased number of polling places. In 2012, the county had at least 200 polling stations but that number dropped to 60 on Tuesday. Republican officials said they made the move to save money.
At least 20 Democratic voters told the state’s Democratic Party that when they arrived at the polls, they were told they were registered as Independents and could not vote in the closed primary.
So far, the Department of Justice has yet to respond to the request for an investigation.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost the primary, tweeted that the voting situation was “unacceptable.” He also called it a “disgrace.”
“In the United States of America, democracy is the foundation of our way of life,” Sanders said. “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.”
The state’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, echoed that sentiment.
“Our election officials must evaluate what went wrong. And how they make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Ducey tweeted.