- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on a review of Maricopa County presidential primary election problems (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

The Department of Public Safety says one person has been arrested after a demonstration in the Arizona House visitor’s gallery got out of hand.

Capt. Damon Cecil says House security asked the protester to leave but he refused and continued to be disruptive. Cecil says he was arrested for trespassing.

Rep. Eddie Farnsworth says the man dropped to the floor of the visitor’s gallery in an apparent attempt to make it harder to remove him. He says officers handcuffed the man and carried him out.

Dozens of people who wanted to testify at a House elections committee hearing on problems in last week’s presidential primary election went to the gallery after the hearing ended. Democratic Rep. Ken Clark worked to calm down the crowd after the arrest.

2:25 p.m.

Demonstrators and voters who came to testify before a House panel about problems with last week’s primary elections spilled into the gallery on the House floor, erupting in protest.

Police carried out at least one protester while others shouted “Shame on you,” ”The whole world is watching” and “Arrest Purcell” referring to the Maricopa County Recorder who has taken much of the blame for last week’s long lines at the polls.

Lawmakers stirred from their seats and took out their phones to record the disruption in the gallery where protesters shouted.

Democratic Rep. Ken Clark of Phoenix pleaded with the remaining protesters to calm down and listen to the debate on an upcoming bill that would overhaul the state’s campaign finance laws.

12:01 p.m.

Several voters have testified to a House committee about their anger at being forced to wait in long lines in last week’s presidential primary election.

The main issues cited by voters who testified Monday revolved around the length of the lines at polling places and whether the Legislature was to blame for the lines. Some called for a new election to decide the Democratic and Republican nominees to their party’s conventions this summer.

Redeem Robinson called on Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell to resign over the voting problems in the state’s largest county. Purcell has taken the blame for lines that topped 5 hours at times that were due in large part to a decision to cut the number of polling places.

10:45 a.m.

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell is being questioned by members of an Arizona House panel about her decision to drastically cut the number of polling places at last week’s presidential primary.

Purcell again apologized at Monday’s Elections Committee hearing for underestimating the number of people who went to the polls. Thousands of people waited for hours in lines.

Purcell says she looked at 2008 turnout, the number of people expected to vote by mail and in person to come up with the number of polling sites.

The 60 sites she ultimately set up were overwhelmed by voter turnout. She said part of the reason she set up so few sites was because of low funding from the Legislature.

Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita pushed back, saying counties have been running presidential primaries with the same funding rate.

10:30 a.m.

Arizona’s top election official says long lines at polling places across Maricopa County at last week’s presidential primary were primarily due to the county’s decision to cut polling places.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan said Monday she was aware that the county planned to cut polling places to 60 from 200 in 2012 and 400 in 2008.

But Reagan says she “didn’t second-guess” the decision by county Recorder Helen Purcell.

Reagan says she wishes she would have called Purcell to express concern but did not do so. She says she’s taking responsibility for that failure.

She says even if she had, county officials have no obligation to make changes and she had no authority to order them.

A House committee is hearing testimony on the election problems.

3 a.m.

A special Arizona House Elections Committee hearing is set to examine problems that led to long lines at last week’s presidential primary election.

The panel has asked Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell to testify Monday about the hours-long lines at polling places in the state’s largest county.

Purcell cut the number of voting locations from 200 for 2012’s presidential primary to 60 at last Tuesday’s election. She has taken the blame for miscalculating voter interest.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan plans to announce results of a preliminary review before the hearing starts. The review will examine polling place cuts and the role of the state’s voter registration system, which may have changed some party registrations to independent during routine address changes.

Independents couldn’t vote in the primary.


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