The state Democratic Party on Monday slammed Maricopa County election officials who decided not to try to verify questionable signatures on some early ballots. Spencer Scharff, the party’s director of voter protection, said the county recorder’s office wasn’t following rules outlined in the state election procedures manual. That manual said election officials must make a reasonable effort to contact early voters if there are questionable signatures before discarding their ballot. “They’re clearly violating that requirement by failing to call them,” Scharff said. “We’re doing everything we can to encourage the county to simply follow the law.”
Recorder’s Office spokeswoman Elizabeth Bartholomew said the county did call many voters whose early ballots had missing signatures or ones that didn’t match what was on file.
But she said that responsibility ended if the ballot was dropped off at the polls on Election Day, and there was no effort to do so for those ballots. “I guess all I can say is that’s the risk a voter takes for dropping off their early ballot at the polls,” she said. “Statute doesn’t even say that we have to contact these people, the procedures manual does.”
The county had about 5,000 early ballots in all that had bad signatures, and that number dropped to about 1,400 as election officials made calls to voters, Bartholomew said.