[Image via rlglawfirm]
Election Day is always eventful for election officials – but Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ was forced to confront an unusual situation when poll workers showed up at a polling location only to find it locked because the landlord had foreclosed on the business hosting the precinct. The AP has more:
Maricopa County’s top elections official says a precinct polling location in a Phoenix suburb didn’t open as scheduled Tuesday morning for the start of midterm election voting because the landlord locked the doors overnight.
County Recorder Adrian Fontes says his office was surprised to learn the Gila Precinct’s location in Chandler is in foreclosure and Fontes says his office is working to reopen the site or find a new one on short notice.
However, Fontes says affected voters can cast ballots at a voting center at Chandler City Hall.
Any voter can cast a ballot at a voting center, while only voters registered in a specific precinct such as the Gila Precinct can cast ballots at a precinct’s polling location.
Fontes says opening the Gila Precinct polling site would require getting a court order.
The County tried to get the precinct open in the parking lot outside, but ultimately had to shift voters to a new location:
Maricopa County election officials say a polling site in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler is not operating.
County Recorder Adrian Fontes told KTVK-TV that poll workers were trying to set up in the parking lot of the Golf Academy of America, which had been foreclosed on overnight Tuesday.
Fontes says they will now open a new polling location for the Gila Precinct at Mesquite High School in nearby Gilbert at about 10 a.m.
I have seen many last-minute Election Day poll closings over the years, but they usually involve bad weather, power outages or lost keys; as best I can remember, this is the first foreclosure. The story raises several key issues – most importantly, whether a private landlord can bar access to a location where public voting equipment and ballots are stored – but in the short run it was an early-morning headache for election officials and voters alike. I’ll be curious to see if this results in any litigation and/or policy changes to guard against a recurrence of this situation in the future.
Many more stories from Election Day 2018 to cover in the weeks ahead – stay tuned …