Voting table in San Luis prompts complaint by GOP
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — Voters waited in long lines Tuesday amid a complaint by Republican leaders that a county supervisor's followers were putting undue and illegal pressure on voters to re-elect the Democratic incumbent.
In a complaint to Yuma County election officials, the GOP officials alleged that backers of Supervisor Tony Reyes where illegally instructing voters in San Luis how to vote on their ballot for Reyes.
But Reyes said he has an opinion from the county attorney's office that state law allows his supporters to provide general information about voting to the public, as long as he, as the candidate, is not involved in that activity.
Reyes is facing Republican David Lara on Tuesday in a bid for a new term as supervisor of District 4, which covers the south and west ends of the county.
As was the case throughout the county, voters formed long lines outside the Fernando Padilla Community Center in San Luis, one of 11 voting centers established for the general election.
The complaint from the Republicans was prompted by a table set up by Reyes' followers across the street from the voting center. The table was marked by a sign identifying it as a voting assistance site.
Reyes said he received a call about 9 a.m. from Bill Kerekes, chief civil deputy in the county attorney's office, telling him that the activity should be suspended. “In every election, we put up what we call a voting assistance center,” Reyes said. “We follow the law. We don't want controversies over an issue that's not worth it. We follow the law. If the county attorney's office says that we have to stop doing something, we'll stop, and that's that.”
About an hour later, Reyes said, Kerekes followed up on that call, this time saying that a recent amendment to state election law only prohibits the candidates themselves from providing direction to voters.
Contacted by Bajo El Sol, Kerekes confirmed that he did advise Reyes that the voting assistance table could remain in place, as long as the supervisor did not involve himself with it.
Lara said he and his campaign had no part in making the complaint to county officials.
“I heard about the complaint, but I don't have the details,” said Lara. “We are waiting to find out more. We have seen (in the past) how they continue manipulating the vote by telling the people who to vote for. You can help people by explaining to them how to mark a ballot, but not by telling for whom to vote.”