Michelle Chance

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Who let the dogs out: Crew faces feral canines, other foibles on primary election day

PHOENIX – When poll workers arrived at a high school Tuesday morning to get ready for voters, they encountered two barriers that could have prevented voters from casting their ballot: a locked gate and a pack of dogs.

First, a “gentleman” unlocked the gate, according to Ericka Minger, a “poll observer” with Arizona Advocacy Network . The gentlemanly maintenance worker returned again when a pack of feral dogs wandered onto the school grounds, removing them to avoid startling voters, she said. Luckily, neither the gate nor the dog pack kept people from voting at the Cesar E. Chavez Community School in Phoenix.

“Just an example of crazy election day happenings!” Minger texted, calmly saying nothing serious happened to hamper voters.

Still, Minger said she filed reports with national and local voting organizations.

“Those things do need to be addressed so that they (poll workers) are ready to go for the November elections,” she said.

Sam Pstross, executive director of the advocacy group, said the organization sent out trained polling volunteers during the primary election who observed inside polling places and offered resources to voters who may have encountered problems while voting.

“Our top priority is just to make sure things are running smoothly, help voters and make sure that our election process is protected,” she said. Pstross said volunteers were sent to 15 polling locations throughout Maricopa County which she said “traditionally have problems.”

Sam Pstross, executive director of Arizona Advocacy Network, helped ensure election policies were followed at the Knights of Pythias polling location in Tempe on Tuesday. (Photo by Michelle Chance / Cronkite News)

Sam Pstross, executive director of Arizona Advocacy Network, helped ensure election policies were followed at the Knights of Pythias polling location in Tempe on Tuesday. (Photo by Michelle Chance / Cronkite News)

Hundreds of Maricopa County voters were frustrated and angered during the presidential-preference election in March by long lines that delayed some voters from casting their ballots.

County officials have more than 700 polling locations around the Valley for election, compared to the 60 locations in March , according to the Maricopa County Recorder’s website .

Joe Borquez, polling inspector at The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Phoenix, said Tuesday morning the precinct had not experienced any negative issues with voting rights.

He said the number of voters at polling locations in the primary election seemed to have “evened out” because of the sheer number of polling places added, compared to the March election.

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