Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett is proposing a wholesale overhaul of the state’s vote-counting system in the wake of embarrassing delays counting more than 630,000 ballots statewide from the Nov. 6 general election. The delays kept voters from knowing the outcome of two of the state’s three major congressional races until at least a week after the polls closed, and the last wasn’t decided until Saturday. Bennett said if the presidential election had been in the balance, the state would have been the focus of nationwide derision. Bennett said in an interview with The Associated Press that by 2014, he hopes to completely revamp the way early ballots dropped off at polling places are counted; cut the number of provisional ballots issued by 90 percent; and ensure the vast majority of votes have been counted within hours of poll closings.
“I want 98 percent of all the ballots to have been scanned into the system and counted by election night,” Bennett said Saturday. “And the next morning, as an election family statewide, we’re dealing with 10,000 to 15,000 ballots, and we’re done in two days.”
The lengthy vote count has brought complaints from voter rights advocates and others who say it highlighted problems with Election Day fairness in the state. But most observers said the delays mainly were due to Arizona’s early voting system, which allows citizens to send in early ballots late and even drop them off at the polling place on Election Day.
Full Article: Ariz. elections chief seeks overhaul | azfamily.com Phoenix.