UPDATE: 4:56 p.m. EDT -- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is joining Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party in their lawsuit against the state of Arizona over the state’s handling of its presidential primary last month. Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver issued the following statement about the lawsuit Thursday afternoon.
“The handling of the primary election in Arizona was a disgrace. People should not have to wait in line for five hours to vote. How many people were turned away? What happened in Arizona is part of a pattern of voter disenfranchisement by Republicans,” the statement said.
Sanders campaign partners in Arizona voter access lawsuit. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/35oCb3VZ2k
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 14, 2016
The Democratic Party and the presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are suing the state of Arizona over voter access, the Washington Post reported. The lawsuit was apparently prompted by long lines at the state’s primaries last month, during which some residents reportedly waited as long as five hours to cast a vote.
The lawsuit is set to be filed Friday and focuses on Arizona's Maricopa County, the state's most populous county and the one in which voters faced the longest lines during the March primaries, after the county cut the number of polling places from 400 in 2008 to just 60 in 2016, an 85 percent drop.
Arizona's “alarmingly inadequate number of voting centers resulted in severe, inexcusable burdens on voters countywide, as well as the ultimate disenfranchisement of untold numbers of voters who were unable or unwilling to wait in intolerably long lines,” the lawsuit says, according to the Post.
It goes on to suggest that the lack of polling places had a larger effect on Maricopa County’s black, Hispanic and Native American communities, which had fewer locations to vote than white communities.
Marc E. Elias, elections lawyer for Clinton’s campaign, said, "Arizona has a history of problems with guaranteeing the rights of their citizens to vote, and with this lawsuit, we hope to stop it now in time for the 2016 general election,” according to the Post.
The lawsuit is to be filed on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Arizona Democratic Party and a number of Arizonans. The Clinton campaign is expected to join it after its filed Friday.
The lines during the March primaries — won by Clinton on the Democratic side and by front-runner Donald Trump for the Republicans — was one of the main stories to emerge from the vote. Most counties surveyed by the Arizona Republic had one polling site per every 2,500 people or fewer. Maricopa County, where the lawsuit is apparently focused, had one site per every 21,000 voters, according to the Republic.
Breaking: Democratic Party and Clinton campaign to sue Arizona over voting rights https://t.co/uZpGwSl5nT
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 14, 2016