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Pinal County names new recorder amid election woes reshuffle

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'We made a mistake': Pinal County officials discuss Tuesday's ballot shortage

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — The Pinal County Board of Supervisors named a replacement for the elected recorder on Friday as it continues to address a series of primary elections problems that the board chairman called a "major screw-up."

The five-member board voted unanimously to name Assistant Recorder Dana Lewis to the position that handles early ballot mailing and voter rolls and filing of documents such as deeds. Lewis replaces former Recorder Virginia Ross, who stepped down Thursday to take over as elections director.

County officials did not blame fired former elections Director David Frist for the problems during a Wednesday news conference, but then fired him the next day.

Members of the public who spoke at the brief emergency meeting Friday praised the board's action, saying it goes a long way to restoring trust in the elections.

During the primary election Tuesday, about 20 of the county's 95 polling sites ran out of ballots, in part because of unexpected demand. Board Chair Jeffrey McClure called it "a major screw-up." Hundreds of voters complained they couldn't immediately vote because the county had run out of some ballots.

Officials have blamed the problems on human error. In addition, one polling site opened several hours late.

Lewis, a former elections employee, moved into the recorder's office earlier this year. She will fill the remainder of the elected post until 2024 when another election will be held.

Ross had been the recorder since being elected in 2012.

The recorder's office oversaw elections until county supervisors separated the elections department in 2017. The county since has had at least three elections directors, who handle Election Day operations that include polling places and ballot counting.

The board plans to focus on elections at several upcoming meetings to ensure the November general election goes smoothly.