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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire, Educator

#AdiosHelen: Restore Democracy in Arizona

Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.

Arizona election official Helen Purcell has disenfranchised thousands of voters, many of them Latino.

For the good of our country and our democracy, tell her to resign.

Dear Friend,

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has done it again.

As Arizona’s top official in charge of making sure every eligible person can vote and that every vote is counted in Arizona’s most populous county, Helen Purcell is primarily responsible for Tuesday’s disastrous primary election that left thousands unable to vote.

For the good of Maricopa county, our nation, and our democracy tell Helen Purcell it’s time for her to resign. #AdiosHelen

This election, as part of a so-called “cost saving” plan, Helen Purcell shut down polling places all over Maricopa County, many of them in predominantly Latino neighborhoods,1 The result? People all over Maricopa County had to wait hours to vote or were told their vote would not count; and many more were discouraged from ever voting.

Aracely Calderon, a recently naturalized immigrant from Guatemala reported waiting over five hours to vote. She arrived at one of the few polling places she had access to until 7 p.m. and wasn’t able to cast her vote until after midnight!2

With more than 30% of Maricopa County identifying as Latino it’s hard not to see Helen Purcell’s strategy as a plan to prevent Latinos, people of color, young people, and other first time voters from participating in our country’s democracy. Even if Purcell tells herself and others that this wasn’t her intent, it was clearly the effect of her plan. This alone should be enough for her to lose her job.

Tell Helen Purcell to resign now. #AdiosHelen

This isn’t the first election disaster that Helen Purcell has been responsible for. In 2012, Presente members forced Helen Purcell to count hundreds of thousands of votes that could have swung the election against the racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

It took weeks to count those votes and they could have made the difference in the election. This was after Purcell sent out the wrong date for that election as a misleading “reminder” to Spanish speaking voters.3

Just one of these disasters should have been enough for Helen Purcell to lose her job. Now, there should be no question that for the good of the country, and for integrity of our democracy, Helen Purcell should resign immediately. She should not be allowed to oversee the November general election in Arizona, especially with so much at stake for our communities.

She needs to make way for a Maricopa County Recorder that’s more concerned with making sure every eligible person votes, and that all their votes count, than she is with corrupt election plans that prevent our communities from voting.

Tell Helen Purcell to resign. #AdiosHelen

Thank you for all you do and ¡adelante!

–Matt, Favianna, Oscar, Erick, and the Presente.org team.

P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.

1. “Supervisors directed elections officials to be 'frugal' with presidential preference.” Tuscon News Now. March 24, 2016.
2. “There Were Five-Hour Lines to Vote in Arizona Because the Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act.” Moyers & Company. March 23, 2016.
3. “Latinos, Progressives Suspicious About How Arizona Conducted Election.” The Daily Beast. November 21, 2012.