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Phoenix mayor calls for feds to investigate shortage of polling places in Maricopa County

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Early morning voters talk as they stand in line before sunrise to vote in Arizona's U.S. presidential primary election at a polling station in Cave Creek, Arizona on March 22, 2016. (Reuters/Nancy Wiechec)

Phoenix’s mayor on Wednesday urged a federal probe into the local county’s handling of voting in Arizona’s presidential nominating contest, questioning whether minority voters were granted a fair chance to cast their ballots.

Greg Stanton asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a decision by Maricopa County officials to slash the number of polling locations in Arizona’s most populous county and leave minority-heavy areas with seemingly fewer sites.

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The Democratic mayor called the vote “a fiasco” after voters had to wait in line for several hours on Tuesday to cast their ballots. Donald Trump won the state’s Republican contest, while Hillary Clinton won on the Democratic side.

“Because of the unacceptably disparate distribution of polling locations, I respectfully request the U.S. Department of Justice investigate what took place […] to ensure all voters are treated equally,” Stanton said in the letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

He said it was the latest in a series of moves by county and state officials that had created “a culture of voter disenfranchisement.”

Complaints of long waits at the polls – some as long as five hours – were common, with hundreds of voters still trying to vote long after the polls closed. There also were reports of polling stations running out of ballots.

The county’s top election official took the blame on Wednesday for making the cost-cutting decision to cut the number of polling sites to 60, compared with the 200 in 2012.

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County Recorder Helen Purcell said she underestimated the number of people who would vote, in part citing the rise in mail-in ballots.

“If we had to do it all over again, we would have done it differently, but I take the blame for that,” Purcell told the county Board of Supervisors. “We were not prepared, that was our fault.”

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey a Republican, said the long lines were unacceptable and called on election officials to evaluate what went wrong and what could be done to prevent a repeat.

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(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Peter Cooney)


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Lara Trump’s lie about Biden family business deals demolished by conservative: ‘You could look it up’

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On Fox News Thursday, ahead of the final presidential debate, President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump repeatedly claimed that Joe Biden was allowing his family to use his name "while he was vice president" to secure profitable business deals.

Lara Trump just murdered irony pic.twitter.com/aBSQjLUp32

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 22, 2020

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Trump supporters linked to Steve Bannon pushing ‘fantastical rumors’ to try to ‘pizzagate’ Joe Biden: report

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NBC News on Thursday published a blockbuster report on efforts to smear former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Some of the same people who pushed a false conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton that first emerged in 2016 are now targeting Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, with similar falsehoods. Their online posts are garnering astronomical numbers of shares on social media," NBC News correspondents Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny reported Thursday.

"The fantastical rumors, which NBC News is declining to repeat verbatim, echo specific plot points central to 'pizzagate,' a viral disinformation campaign that predates QAnon but also falsely alleges a vast conspiracy of child abuse," NBC News explained. "There is an important difference, however. The pizzagate-style rumors in 2016 were largely confined to far-right message boards like 4chan and parts of Reddit. But the Hunter Biden iteration of the same conspiracy theory took off last weekend with the help of speculation from conservative TV hosts and members of Congress. Their theorizing can be traced back to a new website that has been promoted by President Donald Trump and his surrogates."

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2020 Election

Pennsylvania AG warns Trump campaign poll watchers to stop videotaping voters

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On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that the attorney general of Pennsylvania is warning Trump campaign surrogates to stop videotaping voters dropping off mail-in ballots.

"In a statement, Josh Shapiro, the Democratic state attorney general, said, 'Pennsylvania law permits poll watchers to carry out very discrete and specific duties — videotaping voters at drop boxes is not one of them,'" reported Blake Montgomery.

"The campaign has filed complaints with Philadelphia officials based on the videos, alleging fraud on the part of several voters who submitted two or three ballots, according to The New York Times," continued the report. "The Trump campaign initially said the purpose of the videotaping was to catch voters who dropped off a large number of fraudulent ballots rather than one or two, according to the Times."

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