October 22, 2004
Maricopa County’s top judge is going to work late election night to handle possible disputes over whether someone can vote.
County elections director Karen Osborne said a judge always has been available by phone. However, Osborne said a specific query she received from the AFL-CIO about having a judge available led her to ask Presiding Judge Colin Campbell to hang around Nov. 2 until the polls close at 7 p.m.
Osborne called the unprecedented move "insurance,’’ something you do in hopes of not needing it.
She said in her 13 years working for the county there has been only one incident that necessitated a court hearing: A man who said he had registered to vote with the MVD but no record could be found. Osborne said the judge denied his request.
Osborne said she got a request from Barbara Aguirre, an outreach coordinator for AFL-CIO who has been assigned to coordinate election monitoring in Arizona, to know exactly who would be available and where.
Aguirre said the union will have monitors outside close to 200 targeted precincts — those with a high percentage of minority voters — to take complaints from anyone who says he or she has been denied the right to vote.
She said if the problem cannot be resolved on site, then one of the union’s lawyers will seek immediate court intervention.