Pinal County Election Debacle Shows Election Officials Have Much to Learn Before November

Pinal County Election Debacle Shows Election Officials Have Much to Learn Before November

Pinal County, Arizona, election officials have a lot to learn before November. 

In July, nearly 63,000 incorrect ballots were sent out to voters missing local municipal races due to “human error.” 

On Tuesday, about 25 percent of the county’s 95 precincts ran out of ballots or reported they were running low, with local anecdotal reports suggesting many of the shortages affected Republican ballots. Per Gina Swoboda, Executive Director at the Voter Reference Foundation, one polling location ran out of ballots within half an hour. Blame it on human error, again, as elections officials significantly undercounted the number of voters coming to the polls. 

“What happened on Tuesday was historic Republican turnout in a primary, but you still shouldn’t have run out of ballots within a couple of hours,” Swoboda said. 

According to Swoboda, Pinal County election officials should’ve known more Republicans would be coming to the polls on Election Day because Republicans were not sending in their mail ballots for early voting, meaning they were intending to vote in person. 

“It was clear to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to what’s happening in Arizona is that Republicans were going to vote in person on Election Day,” Swoboda said. 

Pinal County’s ballot estimates were based on turnout from previous election cycles and were completely surpassed on Tuesday, with surges of GOP voters coming to the polls in person. 

“The best practice is to have the number of ballots for the number of registered voters plus 10 percent,” Swoboda said — a strategy election officials failed to implement. 

Due to the ballot shortages, voters experienced long lines and wait times. Some were turned away and told to come back after more ballots were printed. According to County Attorney Kent Volkmer, “up to 750 people were affected” by the delays. Volkmer doesn’t know how many people left polling locations without casting votes. 

“Without a doubt, voters were disenfranchised in Pinal County,” Swoboda said. “If you’re going to promote vote by mail, then election administrators must watch early ballot returns.” 

Another complication Tuesday was that the county had access to only two ballot-on-demand printers that printed only one ballot every three minutes, in the city of Coolidge. This led to further delays as different polling locations in need of ballots were 45 minutes away. Even after couriers brought newly printed ballots to different polling locations, some reported that they were sent the wrong ballots for their precinct.

In the aftermath of such a botched primary, Pinal County Elections Director David Frisk was fired Thursday. He was replaced by Pinal County Recorder Virginia Ross. The Pinal County Board of Supervisors chairman told AZ Central “We are looking at restructuring the way we do our Elections Department.”

While Pinal County had the most trouble on Tuesday, Pima County also dealt with ballot shortages as one polling location ran out of paper ballots. Pima County Communications Director Mark Evans blamed it on a worldwide paper shortage, while also admitting some officials underestimated the number of voters coming to the polls. In Maricopa County, election officials faced controversy over voters’ pens smearing ballots. However, officials insisted no one’s vote was lost as officials ran the ballots through the tabulation machines multiple times for them to process. 

Arizona isn’t the only state in the country dealing with serious election woes, made worse by vote-by-mail. In Broward County, Florida, more than a thousand voters have reportedly received the wrong ballots.

Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll.

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*** Election Night Livewire *** Silver, Palmetto States Test Trump’s Power Again, Texas May Foreshadow Red Wave

*** Election Night Livewire *** Silver, Palmetto States Test Trump’s Power Again, Texas May Foreshadow Red Wave

Voters in several states nationwide head to the polls in primaries and in a special general congressional election in Texas on Tuesday, further testing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement strength and perhaps foreshadowing a looming red wave in November. Primaries in South Carolina, Nevada, Maine, and North Dakota take center stage on Tuesday night, as does a special congressional general election in Texas.

In South Carolina, two hotly contested congressional primaries have Trump facing off against incumbent Republicans. In the first district, Trump has endorsed Katie Arrington against Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC). Mace, who has the support of former governor and United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, has sharply criticized Trump in routine television appearances and has voted for a number of controversial things, such as January 6 committee contempt proceedings against former Trump officials. For Arrington, a win would put her back on track to win a seat she was the nominee for in 2018, but lost to now former Democrat Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC). Arrington’s loss came not just amid that year’s blue wave, but also after she had shocked the world and defeated then-Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC)–the former governor who resigned that office amid a sex scandal then orchestrated his own comeback years earlier–to only days after the primary survive a deadly car accident that immobilized her for most of that year’s general election.

Elsewhere in South Carolina, Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)–one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump the second time after the events of Jan. 6, 2021–is in grave danger of losing to state Rep. Russell Fry in the primary. Trump, who backed Fry, could take out the first of these ten impeachment Republicans at the ballot box with a candidate he endorsed here. Several other impeachment Republicans–Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Fred Upton (R-MI), and John Katko (R-NY)–called it quits without even facing voters. Only Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)–who did not face a Trump-backed primary challenger, even though he had a weak challenger–has survived a primary among the impeachment Republicans, and Valadao seems to get a pass from many Republicans given the competitiveness of his district. If Rice goes down, that would make him the first impeachment Republican to go down by the hands of voters, and would also mean 50 percent of the ten have already gone down about 18 months after the vote, with several others in serious trouble–most notably Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).

Out in the Silver State, Nevada GOP primary voters will select their nominees in two banner top-of-the-ticket races–for governor and for U.S. Senate. Trump has weighed in here in both races, backing Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo for governor and former Nevada attorney general Adam Laxalt for U.S. Senate. GOP primaries in the First, Third, and Fourth Congressional Districts could also set the stage for a red tsunami in November, as all three of these U.S. House seats held by Democrats are viewed by analysts as probably competitive in November, especially with close statewide races.

In Maine, former GOP Gov. Paul LePage is formally seeking the GOP nomination for governor again and former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) seeks to return to Congress to represent the all-important Second Congressional District. This is a district Republicans view as particularly competitive, as Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) has made clear with his voting record–which breaks with national Democrat leaders more than any other Democrat currently in Congress–and as evidenced by the fact Trump won it in both 2016 and 2020. Maine splits its electoral votes by congressional district in presidential elections–the only other state that does that is Nebraska–so Trump actually won one vote from Maine both times thanks to the Second Congressional District voters. North Dakotans will also vote on Tuesday, and while there are no major national races there, the state could provide some signs of intensity going into November.

Perhaps most importantly on Tuesday, voters in Texas’s 34th Congressional District will vote in a special congressional election. The district was represented by Democrat Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), who bailed on national Democrats early to go work for lobbyist firm Akin Gump, a move that set up this special election. Republicans are hopeful they can flip this seat on Tuesday, with Hispanic candidate Mayra Flores leading the charge in recent polling that has her close to winning it outright. If she gets more than 50 percent of the vote, she will avoid a runoff–but she does appear per polling to be in the lead regardless. If she wins without a runoff, this would be the first seat Republicans have flipped back from Democrats into GOP hands since the November 2020 elections–and could foreshadow things to come in November. What’s more, Flores would enter the general election with the power of incumbency in a district that will be decidedly more Democrat-friendly in November, thanks to redistricting–this special election is under the old lines–as she faces off there against Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) who switched districts, abandoning his old one to run here instead in November. This could also set the tone for GOP gains with Hispanic voters along the border, and comes just weeks after the tragic shooting at an elementary school in nearby Uvalde, Texas.

The polls close in South Carolina at 7:00 p.m. ET, Maine and Texas at 8:00 p.m. ET, Nevada at 10:00 p.m. ET, and the hours vary in North Dakota by county.

Follow along here for live updates as the results pour in from across the country.

UPDATE 9:13 p.m. ET:

With 24 percent reporting now in South Carolina’s first district, Arrington has cut Mace’s lead to less than 8 percent now. Mace, at 52.8 percent, is less than 8 percent–and less than two thousand votes–higher than Arrington’s 45.2 percent. And, as we’ve been noting all night, still no Beaufort County yet.

UPDATE 9:11 p.m. ET:

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) won his primary, which was unsurprising since he did not face a credible or serious challenge:

Hoever is one of just a handful of GOP senators who voted for the 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty plan for illegal aliens left in the U.S. Senate. There were 14 GOP votes for that bill, and in the nine years since nine of those 14 have one by one either passed away or lost their elections or stepped aside. That’s a pretty devastating rate, but Hoeven holds on for now–and it remains to be seen if he will ever face a real challenge from the right.

UPDATE 9:07 p.m. ET:

Still nothing from Beaufort, but Arrington with the latest batch of votes just sliced Mace’s lead down to just 9 percent–or about two thousand votes–with just 23 percent reporting. This one could get super close.

UPDATE 9:04 p.m. ET:

In South Carolina’s first district, with 20 percent reporting, Mace is hanging tough with her lead–but still nothing in yet from Arrington country Beaufort County.

UPDATE 9:02 p.m. ET:

In South Carolina’s 7th district, with 30 percent reporting, Trump’s pick Fry is inching ever closer to that 50 percent threshold to avoid the runoff with Rice–he’s now at 47.2 percent.

UPDATE 9:01 p.m. ET:

Polls are closed now in North Dakota, at least part of the state, and some results are trickling in. There really are not many major competitive races here, but Trump does have some endorsements on the line.

UPDATE 8:59 p.m. ET:

With 41 percent reporting now in Texas’s 34th district special election, the GOP’s Flores has expanded her lead to a full percent. She’s at 47.2 percent while Democrat Sanchez has slipped to 46.2 percent.

UPDATE 8:57 p.m. ET:

Others are picking up on the Texas situation:

This would be a serious rebuke of Democrats and a monster pickup for Republicans if Flores pulls this off.

UPDATE 8:55 p.m. ET:

A substantial batch of votes just came in in Maine’s second district, and now Poliquin leads by almost 20 percent with about 3 percent reporting.

UPDATE 8:42 p.m. ET:

Republicans are privately very confident about the chances of Flores to win outright tonight in Texas, which would be a disaster for Democrats heading into the midterm season:

The early vote numbers are very bad for the Democrats, and Flores is actually leading those right now with still no in-person votes reported. Flores could be headed for a historic night here in Texas.

UPDATE 8:39 p.m. ET:

Even if impeachment backer Rice survives tonight to live to see a runoff, he still looks like dead man walking there and would need a miracle to come out of that victorious:

Fry, meanwhile, has a clear path to completely avoiding a runoff altogether tonight.

UPDATE 8:37 p.m. ET:

With 16 percent reporting now in South Carolina’s first district, Mace’s lead is back to less than 10 percent. Mace, at 53.7 percent, has about a 1,600 vote lead over Arrington’s 44 percent. Still nothing from Arrington-heavy Beaufort County, either which might be problematic for the congresswoman.

UPDATE 8:33 p.m. ET:

There are still just over 100 votes reported in total so far in Maine’s second district GOP primary but Poliquin has pulled ahead of Caruso there.

UPDATE 8:32 p.m. ET:

Mace just got a bump in South Carolina’s first with the latest batch of votes, scooting back up to a 15 percent lead. She has 56.4 percent as compared with Arrington’s 41.2 percent.

UPDATE 8:31 p.m. ET:

With 18 percent reporting now in South Carolina’s 7th district, Fry has increased his lead and now has 45.8 percent as compared with Rice’s 28 percent. Still a long way to go but looks bad for the impeachment crowd tonight.

UPDATE 8:29 p.m. ET:

In Texas, the GOP’s Flores has pulled ahead of Democrat Sanchez by about a half of a percent with 36 percent reporting now.

UPDATE 8:27 p.m. ET:

Don’t look now, but Mace’s lead in South Carolina’s first has been cut dramatically down to just over a thousand votes–and still nothing reporting from Arrington’s stronghold of Beaufort County. With 9 percent reporting according to the New York Times, Mace has just 54.3 percent and Arrington is quickly gaining on her with now 43 percent. It is clearly very early there, and this could come down to the wire.

UPDATE 8:24 p.m. ET:

The first votes are coming in in Maine’s second district GOP primary, where Liz Caruso leads former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) by just 7 votes. It’s very early here. Elsewhere in Maine, because they ran unopposed, former GOP Gov. Paul LePage and Democrat Gov. Janet Mills are now officially the nominees for governor of their respective parties.

The first votes are also coming in in Texas’s 34th congressional district special election, with 34 percent reporting. Republican Mayra Flores and Democrat Dan Sanchez are in a dead heat here, with Sanchez leading for now with 47.8 percent to Flores’s 45.2 percent.

UPDATE 8:20 p.m. ET:

In South Carolina’s 7th district, Fry’s lead is maintaining at around 15 percent above Rice. Fry, at 44.7 percent, leads Rice’s 29.7 percent by just under two thousand votes.

UPDATE 8:17 p.m. ET:

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the House Majority Whip, has easily fended off a primary challenge in South Carolina’s sixth district–with more than 93 percent of the vote with just over 4 percent reporting according to the New York Times:

UPDATE 8:14 p.m. ET:

The New York Times now has those same vote totals and percentages in South Carolina’s first district as Decision Desk HQ does in the tweet below, but the Times says that it is just with 6 percent reporting not 16 percent. That means this race is getting tighter fast.

UPDATE 8:10 p.m. ET:

Arrington’s position is not improving much but is slightly as more votes roll in–Decision Desk HQ has 16 percent reporting and Mace still at 60 percent:

UPDATE 8:05 p.m. ET:

The polls are closed now in Maine and in Texas’s 34th congressional district special election.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina’s 7th district with 4 percent reporting. Russell Fry has expanded his lead. He has 42.5 percent of the vote so far, compared with just 22 percent for Rice.

UPDATE 7:46 p.m. ET:

That was fast:

South Carolina GOP Gov. Henry McMaster is officially the GOP nominee again for another term.

UPDATE 7:45 p.m. ET:

Mace has a huge lead to start the night in South Carolina’s first congressional district, with 68.4 percent of the votes counted so far compared to Arrington’s 30.1 percent with just 2 percent reporting. A lot can change and fast here, though, as it’s still very early with just a couple thousand votes counted so far.

UPDATE 7:42 p.m. ET:

More are coming in in both competitive South Carolina GOP congressional primaries and it’s a mixed bag to start the night for Trump:

UPDATE 7:40 p.m. ET:

The very first results are in now in the 7th congressional district of South Carolina and Trump-backed Russell Fry has a sizable early lead over impeachment backer incumbent Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC). With just 1 percent reporting according to the New York Times, Fry has 32.4 percent to Rice’s 26 percent. Still very early here but decent start for Trump and Fry.

UPDATE 7:33 p.m. ET:

It is also worth noting that Nikki Haley went all in against former President Donald Trump here. Here is an image and video of her campaigning in person with Mace long after Trump endorsed Arrington:

UPDATE 7:26 p.m. ET:

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), it is worth noting, is already officially the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate this year as he seeks another term in office. He ran unopposed in the primary, and is the odds-on favorite to win the general election. His national star continues to rise inside the GOP, too, and he is widely viewed as a potential presidential or vice presidential candidate down the road.

UPDATE 7:24 p.m. ET:

The first votes are now coming in on the GOP side, and Gov. McMaster is way out in front as expected. These votes are outside the primetime congressional primary battles so still waiting.

UPDATE 7:21 p.m. ET:

We’re still awaiting GOP primary results but the very first South Carolina results–from the Democrat primary–are trickling. In the biggest race on the Democrat side, former Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) is facing Mia McLeod–the first black woman to run for governor–in the gubernatorial primary. Only a couple hundred votes are in here. The winner of that primary is very likely to face Gov. Henry McMaster, who is very likely to fend off a primary challenge tonight.

UPDATE 7:07 p.m. ET:

From President Trump’s team, here are the former commander-in-chief’s endorsements on the line tonight nationwide:

Nevada-Senate: Laxalt, Adam
Nevada-Governor: Lombardo, Joe

North Dakota-Senate: Hoeven, John
North Dakota-AL: Armstrong, Kelly

South Carolina-Senate: Scott, Tim
South Carolina-Governor: McMaster, Henry
South Carolina-Attorney General: Wilson, Alan
South Carolina-01: Arrington, Katie
South Carolina-02 : Wilson, Joe
South Carolina-03 : Duncan, Jeff
South Carolina-04 : Timmons, William
South Carolina-05 : Norman, Ralph
South Carolina-07: Fry, Russell

UPDATE 7:05 p.m. ET:

Polls have closed in South Carolina, and results are expected imminently. Stay tuned for those and as soon as they start trickling in we should start having a picture of what will happen in those two important congressional primaries.

Disclosure: Breitbart News is represented by Cooper & Kirk, PLLC. Adam Laxalt is a partner at Cooper & Kirk. He is not actively engaged or working on any matters for Breitbart News.


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Wins Ohio Republican Primary

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Wins Ohio Republican Primary

Gov. Mike DeWine won Ohio’s Republican gubernatorial primary election on Tuesday.

Republican voters in Ohio have decided to send Gov. Mike DeWine to represent them in November’s general election as the governor has fended off two primary challengers, former Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Joe Blystone.

While DeWine faced fierce backlash from conservatives in Ohio over shutdowns and mandates he imposed during the early months of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, all seems to have been forgiven.

Moreover, the win comes a little over a month after DeWine signed legislation making Ohio the 23rd constitutional carry state in the Union.

Meanwhile, in the Democrat gubernatorial primary election, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley has won her race against former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.

DeWine, however, is expected to win in the general election because Democrats have not won Ohio’s governor’s office in nearly 16 years, and as of 2020, analysts no longer consider Ohio to be a swing state.

Nonetheless, Republican Governors Association Executive Director Dave Rexrode released a statement following Whaley’s win, stressing the importance of backing DeWine in November:

Following a messy race to the left that saw Nan Whaley endorse extreme progressive policies and pivot further out of line with mainstream Ohio values, it’s more clear than ever that Mike DeWine is the best choice to lead the state forward. Whaley failed Dayton as mayor and would bring those same broken policies to Columbus. Governor DeWine helped the state overcome challenging circumstances in pursuit of a more prosperous future for all Ohioans, and we look forward to him earning re-election this fall.

Another big race on Tuesday night in Ohio includes a crowded Republican field vying for Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) vacant seat as the senator decided last year not to run for reelection, citing a “partisan gridlock.”

Running in Ohio’s GOP primary are author J.D. Vance — who former President Donald Trump endorsed — former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel, Cleveland “Guardians” owner’s son Matt Dolan, businessman Mike Gibbons, and former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken.

At the time of publication, J.D. Vance is the projected winner of the Republican Senate primary in Ohio.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


*** Election Night Livewire *** Ohio, Indiana Primaries Set Tone for Future of GOP, Test Trump Endorsement Strength

*** Election Night Livewire *** Ohio, Indiana Primaries Set Tone for Future of GOP, Test Trump Endorsement Strength

Voters in Indiana and Ohio will decide who will represent them in November’s general elections in the primaries in both states on Tuesday, setting the tone in particular for the future of the Republican party and testing former President Donald Trump’s endorsement strength in a big way.

Trump has 22 endorsements on the line across both states on Tuesday, some in competitive races and others in not-so-competitive primaries. The biggest banner race of the night is the five-way GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio, where Trump has endorsed author J.D. Vance–a hardcore nationalist populist–against four other candidates, three of whom sought Trump’s backing and one of whom did not. Those other candidates–Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, Jane Timken, and Matt Dolan–all represent different views on the future of the GOP than Trump in varying degrees, but Dolan in particular represents a major departure from Trump’s view for the party. That’s why it was particularly interesting on Tuesday morning to see Dolan’s wife and some top national leftists like Daily Kos urging Ohio Democrats to pull GOP ballots and vote for Dolan in the primary on Tuesday.

Success for Vance would spell good news for Trump-endorsed candidates in other upcoming primaries, such as those in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and elsewhere, where some have struggled and some have prospered. That’s because Vance shot to the front of the pack in the final weeks of the race in polling after Trump backed him, despite an all-out effort against him from some in the donor class and establishment. Whoever wins the GOP nomination for Senate in Ohio will likely face Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) in the general election, a tougher-than-it-looks race given Ryan’s push to portray himself as tough on China.

Ohio’s Senate primary is hardly the only big race of the night. Several competitive congressional primaries in both Ohio and Indiana will also test Trump’s endorsement and offer insight into how the GOP’s future will look. What’s more, Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine aims to fend off two primary challengers–former Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Joe Blystone–something polling indicates he is likely to do. Seeing whether the polls are right and DeWine can seal the deal will also say a lot about the party– in different respects than Trump’s endorsement will, but also in an interesting way.

These elections are the first, too, since the unprecedented leak of a draft decision from the U.S. Supreme Court indicating that Justices are likely to overturn Roe v. Wade later this year, so how that affects things electorally may or may not be apparent in certain results on Tuesday evening.

Follow along here for live updates as the results pour in from across Indiana and Ohio after the polls close at 6 p.m. local time in Indiana and at 7:30 p.m. local time in Ohio. Ohio is in eastern time entirely, and Indiana is mostly in eastern time–though some of it is in central time–so results should come in shortly thereafter.

UPDATE 6:07 p.m. ET
Polls have closed in most of Indiana now, and we should start expecting results soon:

The polls in the rest of the state will close at 7 p.m. ET.



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