Election fiasco? No delays in our class vote.

class vote tally-rev2-CR

On Tuesday, I conducted a class exercise as part of our ongoing discussion of rhetoric and persuasion in which they are required to adopt a position on some topic, whether they agree with it or not. Basically, this was more of a class discussion ice-breaker than a formal controlled experiment but the results were surprising, especially when you see the differences that emerged as the day progressed.

Little did we know at that time that vast numbers of Maricopa County voters would be either disenfranchised or horribly inconvenienced by two- to four-hour waits at the actual polls.*

The rules:

Use whatever piece of paper you have handy and write down the name of one of three Republican candidates being voted on in today’s Arizona primary. Regardless of your actual voting preference or whether you’ve even registered or have already voted, you must select one of these three…or…if you really can’t bring yourself to write one of these names, just write “No one.” Don’t put your name on the paper.

The students are all college age, mostly 18-20, with a handful in their early 20s.class vote tally-rev2

Trump    Cruz    Kasich    No One

7:00 am class

6                4               0                9

8:30 am class

0                11              1                 7

1:00 pm  class

2                 1               0                15


8                 16              1                31

One of my colleagues suggested that 7am students are more likely to be authoritarian-leaning because they typically have jobs to get to (otherwise they wouldn’t be getting up that early–very few of them really like a 7am class). Of course the overwhelming majority vote for Cruz, also arch-conservative, at 8:30, doesn’t exactly fit that theory, though it does gain some credibility at 1pm where both Trump and Cruz are trounced by “no one.”

*County officials, led by County Recorder Helen Purcell, had reduced 200 locations to a mere 60. With 1.25 million voters in the county, that amounts to an average of 21,000 voters per location, compared to 835 to 2,500 voters per location in other counties. Apache County had 41 polling locations for nearly 35,000 eligible voters. Navajo County had 38 polling locations for roughly 42,000 eligible voters. Pima County (including Tucson) had 130 locations for 300,000 voters. (See AZ Central story)

In a Fox News interview, Purcell indicated that the large number of Independent voters in the county (about 36%) played a significant role in the decision to cut the polling locations as well as national candidates showing up to electioneer  (FOX 10 Phoenix with Jessica Flores – Fox 10 News. March 22 at 10:33pm.) Apparently Purcell doesn’t think candidates have stumped here in the past.

Fox TV interview-PurcellReporter: Who’s to blame for this, the long lines?

Purcell: Well, the voters for getting in line. Maybe us for not having enough polling places.

Suddenly realizing what she has just implied, Purcell backtracks a bit, saying, “Well, they’re not to blame for standing in line. But they went to the polling places. They could have voted early, or, you know, that was their option. I don’t mean to blame the voters. I think it’s wonderful voters went to the polls. That’s what we encourage them to do all the time.”

One would hate to see what it would look like if the Country Recorder wanted to discourage voting!

(Thanks to my friend Linda V for posting the Purcell inteview on her Facebook page.)

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