Responding to reports of voters waiting in line for hours to cast their votes in Arizona's primary Tuesday, the mayor of the state capital is asking the federal government to investigate the distribution of polling locations that may have put undue burden on minorities' ability to vote.
Voting in Maricopa County, the state's most populous county where Phoenix is located, lasted until after midnight, more than five hours after polls officially closed.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said that the ratio in polling locations in white communities were "far more favorable" than in parts of Maricopa County with higher minority populations, and resulted in hours-long waits and possibly many voters choosing not to vote because of the long lines. Stanton also decried the decrease in the number of total polling locations in 2016 compared with the 2012 and 2008 presidential primaries.
"Because of the unacceptably disparate distribution of polling locations, I respectfully request the U.S. Department of Justice investigate what took place in Maricopa County to ensure all voters are treated equally under the law," Stanton wrote.
Stanton's letter mentions that since 2006, Arizona election officials have rejected more than 121,000 provisional ballots and 46,000 mail-in ballots. The mayor also decries a law state officials approved that "aims to suppress voter turnout" by making it a felony for volunteers to turn in another person's early ballot.