- Associated Press - Monday, April 18, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Senate on Monday amended an election bill to require Maricopa County to at least triple the number of polling places from the number it had in the March 22 presidential primary.

The amendment to House Bill 2017 was prompted by huge lines at many polling places in Maricopa County after it cut the number to 60 from 200 in 2012.

State Sen. Kimberly Yee said she worked with the county recorder and secretary of state to craft the language of the amendment. The underlying bill deals with campaign signs and awaits a formal vote.

“The floor that we’ve established in this bill will solve the issue of long lines and the inability of people to cast their ballots,” Yee said. “This again is going to insure that every voter in Maricopa County will be able to vote in future presidential preference elections.”

Yee said she said spent 5 ½ hours in line waiting to vote.

“I believe that voting should be easy and accessible, and this is the fix,” she said of the amendment.

The legislation requires a minimum of 200 polling places in 2020.

Maricopa County is holding a special election on May 17 for which officials had planned to have the same 60 polling places open. After the problems last month, they plan to have about 120 polling places.

The legislation won’t be needed if other bills making their way through the Legislature pass and are signed by the governor.

The House has passed a bill repealing state funding for the presidential primary, which many believe would force parties in the state to go to a caucus system.

The measure would also reimburse counties for more than $6 million spent to administer the primary.

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