Pinal County runs out of in-person ballots following mail-in ballot errors

Grace Lieberman

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AP Photo/Matt York

By Grace Lieberman / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

Nearly two dozen Pinal polling locations ran out of ballots yesterday – adding more confusion to a primary election in which 60,000 erroneous mail-in ballots were sent to voters early last month.

Election officials said “unprecedented demand for in-person ballots” caused the shortage at at least 20 precincts in Pinal County.

Pinal officials confirmed 12 polling locations throughout the county that ran out of ballots on Tuesday, and ABC15 reported that up to 20 precincts could have been affected.

Some polls were open late as additional ballots were printed and distributed.

Voters who already filled out an erroneous ballot were sent supplemental ballots – and those who didn’t have time to return it were encouraged to vote in person.

It’s unclear if the ballot snafu led to the increase in in-person ballot requests.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called for Pinal County’s election director to resign last night after what she described in a tweet as a “comprehensive failure.”

Elections director David Frisk took full responsibility for the municipal ballot error last month. Neither Frisk nor the Pinal County Elections Department has not responded to requests for comment.

60K erroneous ballots sent to voters

The election process was thrown into disarray in several parts of Pinal last month when a human error led to over 60,000 bunk ballots getting sent to local voters.

Ballots in Superior, Maricopa, Casa Grande, Eloy, Mammoth, Apache Junction and Queen Creek were sent out with city and town contests missing or incorrectly included on ballots.

Nonetheless, officials approved a last minute solution to send separate ballots for their local races, and give in-person voters a separate ballot for municipal contests at the polls.

Results from yesterday’s primary

Many precincts received more in-person voters than usual, but some municipal elections in Pinal County cities and towns could end up showing lower turnout this year than in the same elections two years ago.

Not all precincts are reporting yet in Pinal County. With around 78% of precincts reporting as of Wednesday morning in Apache Junction, 1,497 votes have been counted in the mayoral race as well as 3,259 votes for council members.

Around 72% of precincts in Casa Grande are reporting 1,521 total votes for mayor and 4,143 for council. In Eloy, just 37% of precincts are currently reporting, with 408 votes cast for mayor and 968 for council.

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Grace Lieberman is a business, science and technology reporter based in Phoenix, AZ

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