Supervisor Named In Arizona Elections Lawsuit Welcomes Case

By Casey Kuhn, Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Friday, April 15, 2016 - 6:34pm
Updated: Friday, April 15, 2016 - 10:00pm
(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, a Democrat, welcomes the federal lawsuit against Arizona in response to election issues.

Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo said he fully supports a lawsuit filed by Democrats Friday over the botched presidential preference election last month that seeks to prevent problems in November.

Gallardo, a Democrat, is named along with all of the county supervisors as a defendant in the case, but said he welcomes the federal government to improve an election process he sees as broken.

“I don’t see a problem with me being a defendant and saying yes, we need federal oversight. I agree with that; I look forward to this case moving forward, and let’s see what comes out of it.”

Other named defendants in the case include Secretary of State Michele Reagan, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell and Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne.

Gallardo also brought advocates from voter groups to speak about problems they believed happened in March - namely minority disenfranchisement and a lack of education for voters.

Plaintiffs in the suit include the Democratic National Committee and the Arizona Democratic Party. The Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns are expected to join.

The lawsuit asks a federal judge to block certain Arizona voting policies and require Maricopa County election officials to submit their election day plans to the court in advance. The plaintiffs argue federal court oversight is the only way to ensure voters, particularly minorities, are not disenfranchised.

Elizabeth Bartholomew with the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office said her office is willing to cooperate with federal court oversight if the lawsuit succeeds.

"We absolutely intend to comply with them if they would like us to submit the 724 polling places we intend to have for the primary and the general election this year," Bartholomew said.

The vast majority of the polling places to be used in November have been in use since 2012, Bartholomew said, and the U.S. Department of Justice approved those locations at that time.