Arizona’s largest counties plan to ask lawmakers for authority to purge some inactive voters from the permanent early-voting list in an effort to decrease the number of provisional ballots cast in future elections. Nearly half of Arizona voters who cast provisional ballots at the polls in the 2012 general election were asked to do so because they previously had signed up for permanent early voting, meaning ballots already had been sent to them in the mail, according to The Arizona Republic’s analysis of statewide election data. In Maricopa County, the state’s largest, more than 59,000 voters who signed up for early voting nonetheless showed up at the polls to cast ballots on Election Day, according to county elections data. Some county elections officials hope to see statutory changes that would allow them to evaluate whether certain voters on the permanent early-voting list should remain there.
State law allows voters to ask in writing to be removed from the permanent early-voting list. County elections officials, however, cannot remove voters from the list without voters’ consent, even if they do not use their early ballots.
The issue is among several that could be addressed when county elections officials from across the state, the Arizona secretary of state and the Arizona Association of Counties suggest amendments to some aspects of the state’s election laws. The Arizona Legislature’s session begins today.
“We really think that if there’s a way to address that specific area — where we saw that a lot of individuals ended up having to cast provisionals — that it could cut down pretty significantly the number of provisional ballots that would have to be cast after it becomes effective,” said Nicole Stickler, executive director of the Arizona Association of Counties, which has facilitated meetings on the topic among county recorders.
Full Article: Arizona counties eye early-voting list overhaul.