Consolidation of polling places confuses some Yuma voters
Some of Yuma County's Democratic voters experienced confusion Tuesday when their usual polls weren't open for Arizona's presidential preference election.
The source of their puzzlement was the consolidation of the county's 42 polling places into seven.
"They've been calling in all day yesterday and all day today trying to figure out where to go vote," said Juanita Elms, county elections coordinator. '(People) don't pay any attention to what comes out in the paper. They don't pay attention to the sample ballot they get that tells them where their poll is. So then they just go willy-nilly and just wander off wherever they usually vote, so that's what's happening."
Elms said people need to understand that this not a regular election, so the polls, by law, must be consolidated.
"Usually there's 42 total polling places, one for each precinct," she said. "Those are always subject to change, though, and that's something (people) don't realize. They should pay attention to the sample ballot they get about two weeks before the election, which tells them where their polling place is for their precinct."
Elms said consolidation of polling places for smaller elections is nothing new.
"They're always consolidated," she said. "This time not even half of the voters are eligible. It's a big expense thing. You would have so few people at a poll that costs thousands and thousands of dollars to set up."
Elms said the fact that Tuesday's election was being called a "primary election" nationwide likely added to the confusion.
Arizona's primary is in November," she said. "There's never been a presidential race in Arizona in the primary. It's always in the general (election). So this is more like a caucus. It's the Democratic Party surveying their people to see who they want their delegates to nominate, and that's all it is."