Raw Interview: Helen Purcell

Who's to blame for the long lines at polling places in Maricopa County? "The voters for getting in line, maybe us for not having enough polling places..." - Helen Purcell, Maricopa County Recorder

Posted by FOX 10 Phoenix on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

An Arizona voting official on Wednesday seemingly pointed the finger at her state’s voters for long delays during dual presidential primaries the night before.

Who shoulders the blame for Tuesday evening’s grueling delays?

“The voters, for getting in line, [or] maybe us for not having as many polling places as we usually have,” said Helen Purcell, a Maricopa County recorder.


“They’re not to blame for standing in line, [but] they went to the polling places,” Purcell added during an interview with Fox News’s local affiliate. "They could have voted early. That was their option, in this instance.

“I don’t mean to blame the voters. I think it’s wonderful that the voters went to the polls. That’s what we encourage them to do every year.”

Overwhelming voter turnout in Arizona on Tuesday evening resulted in massive lines and protracted ballot counts there.

Purcell on Wednesday said she would not consider her county’s handling of its voting contests a mistake.

“I don’t think so,” she told reporter Jessica Flores when asked if she would consider it “a failure” in hindsight.

“When you get people out to vote, is that a failure?” Purcell asked. "I’m glad they went out and I’m sorry that they had to wait so long.”

Purcell on Wednesday ultimately accepted blame for the glacial voting process, before insisting she would not resign over the experience voters had the night before.

“We certainly made bad decisions, and having only 60 polling places, [we] didn’t anticipate that there would be that many people going to the polling places,” she said during a separate interview with The Arizona Republic. "I’m not going to resign, and the electorate is free to do whatever they want to do."

Arizona voters ultimately picked GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates MORE during their parties’ respective primaries Tuesday night.