CBS 5: Poll Workers Accused of Pushing Provisional Ballots on Voters

By Jason Barry, CBS 5

PHOENIX (CBS5) -About 116,000 Maricopa County voters filled out a provisional ballot Tuesday and most of those ballots are still sitting in the county recorder's office yet to be counted.

Sam Wercinski, with the non-partisan Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, had hundreds of poll watchers stationed across the state on Election Day.

Wercinski told CBS5 that poll workers in several precincts were not prepared to handle the big crowds, so when a problem popped up they simply offered up a provisional ballot instead of addressing individual voter needs.

"In many poll locations the poll workers were put in the middle of a very chaotic situation because of the volume of first-time voters," said Wercinski. "The common advice provided for voters who didn't have proper ID or who's name didn't appear in the signature roster was to go stand in the other line and get a provisional ballot."

Concerns have also been raised that there weren't enough poll workers in busy precincts, which only added to the voter confusion, said Wercinski.

Bob Brewer was a poll inspector at a Phoenix precinct.

He said they could have used a bigger staff, but disputes the claim that poll workers weren't trained properly or didn't follow proper procedure.

According to Brewer, voters deserve much of the blame for the election day chaos by not coming to the polls prepared.

"If you're going to go on a long trip it's up to you to make sure your gas tank is full," said Brewer. "We're in this together and public has to realize their responsibility."

Election officials said that every legitimate ballot will be counted.

In addition to the 116,000 provisional ballots Maricopa County also has 237,359 early ballots.

County officials said they counted more than 62,000 early ballots Thursday and the counting process will continue on Friday.

In 2008, there were approximately 100,000 provisional ballots, which election officials said is comparable to the number in 2012.

The article can be viewed here.