Phoenix, the nation’s sixth largest city, aims to save money and add convenience by allowing its 650,000 registered voters to cast ballots for Tuesday’s city election at any of 26 voting centers. The centers replace 128 assigned polling places. While most Phoenix voters cast early ballots, typically mailing them in, those who vote in person formerly had to vote in their precincts.
Arizona is among nine states that either permit jurisdictions to replace precincts with vote centers or authorize pilot projects in selected administrations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The centers don’t necessarily boost overall turnout but can save money for governmental jurisdictions, a 2010 study by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Indiana’s Ball State University found.
Phoenix, the first Arizona city to use voting centers, likely will save up to $350,000 on the previous $1 million cost of a city election, with reduced spending for hiring election workers, renting polling places and preprinting ballots, City Clerk Cris Meyer said.