Farm Progress

Circus politics, polling screw-up, long voting lines

Cary Blake 1, Editor

April 19, 2016

2 Min Read
<p>Photo: Win McNamee, Getty Images.</p>

We’re all aware of the political circus act currently performed under the Republican and Democratic parties’ ‘Big Tops’ for the high stakes goal of snaring the U.S. presidency. The candidates are dishing out outrageous showboating amid rampant name calling.

Even at the local level, the voting process became ‘circus like’ for voters in the Phoenix, Ariz. area where I live. On the morning of the Arizona Presidential Preference Election (old school – the Primary Election), I read my voting precinct card mailed from the State of Arizona to find out where I should vote. Surprisingly the section was blank. Huh?

So I jumped in the truck and drove to my traditional voting site – closed; then to the previous voting site – also closed. I pulled out my Smartphone and searched for voting precincts in Gilbert, Ariz. which yielded candidate ads.

Back at home, I picked up my morning newspaper in the driveway and found an Arizona voting website which listed just three voting sites in Gilbert – population 250,000 people. My immediate thought was how can a quarter of a million Gilbert citizens vote at three polling places in one day?

At 6:30 a.m., I arrived at the closest voting precinct and found long lines twisted around the front of the church. Wow, I had never seen primary election voting lines like this in the early morning. It felt good to join my fellow residents in line to vote. From arrival time to placing my completed ballot in the scanning machine took one hour.

As the busy Election Day unfolded, I found out that my county – Maricopa – had just 60 polling places open for its 3.8 million residents, down from 400 polling places four years earlier. Some voters waited more than six hours to vote that day – some in line past midnight.

Needless to say, the Maricopa County Recorder (key election official) is in the political hot seat. It appears the FBI may investigate the political boondoggle since many residents were unable to vote.

Yet isn’t it great to see all of the interest back in our political process again? It’s a political circus out there, yet it makes me feel proud to be a voter and see that people genuinely care about the future of the United States - despite it's faults still the greatest country on earth!

About the Author(s)

Cary Blake 1

Editor, Western Farm Press

Cary Blake, associate editor with Western Farm Press, has 32 years experience as an agricultural journalist. Blake covered Midwest agriculture for 25 years on a statewide farm radio network and through television stories that blanketed the nation.
Blake traveled West in 2003. Today he reports on production agriculture in California and Arizona.
Blake is a native Mississippian, graduate of Mississippi State University, and a former Christmas tree grower.

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