Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Ann Wallack Not Running for Re-Election
Shortly after the election, I asked Wallack about the high number of early and provisional ballots left to count, and the charge by some that this deluge was due to a voter-suppression effort targeting Latinos.
At that time, she said she believed the problem to be countywide and not exclusive to certain precincts. So I asked if her assessment was the same, now that the unofficial tally is done.
"I do still believe it's a county-wide problem, the number of provisionals," she explained. "I think it's OK to have provisionals because it gives people another chance to vote. But we need to figure out why. It may be the process at the polling places, but a lot of things contributed to it."
County Dems have asked for additional info from the Maricopa County Recorder's Office and are hoping that a post-canvass analysis will suss out the reasons for the provisional ballot overload.
How can her fellow Dems help avoid this situation in the future?
In a recent e-mail to the party faithful, Wallack had an answer: Recruit more precinct committeepersons, who in turn will recruit more Democratic poll workers and observers.
"The best way to reduce the number of provisional ballots is to have good poll workers who care about our side," Wallack wrote in her e-mail, "and to have observers who can ensure that voters are in the correct polling place."
She also states in the e-mail that, according to what county elections is telling her, "49% of all provisionals are due to PEVL voters not voting by mail and showing up at polling places. And 82% of the provisionals are valid."
Recruiting new PCs should be a priority for new county officers, she explained, as well as reaching out to minority voters and residents on the West Side.
"When I took the job of MCDP Chair 4 years ago I emphasized the importance of PC recruitment," reads the e-mail. "I gave up on it and I now regard it as a major failure."
A look at the PC spreadsheets online at the recorders office website, confirms a serious deficit in Democratic PCs, with 444 open D positions, more than 40 percent of the slots allotted for Dems in the county.
(Note: This is assuming my spreadsheet calculations are correct. Feel free to double-check me.)
Getting on the ballot to fill one of those positions is relatively easy, just a matter of garnering 8-to-10 signatures, says Wallack.
"And you and your spouse count," Wallack told me of the petition. "Republicans do this stuff in their sleep, they're joiners...Democrats, they tend to hang back."
And complain a lot.
Though Wallack didn't say that. That's me talkin'.