Secretary of State Michele Reagan has begun circulating a memo detailing a proposed overhaul of the laws governing virtually every aspect of how elections are conducted in Arizona, from data protocols and recount procedures, to “sore loser” candidates and voter fraud investigations. Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Reagan’s office, said the proposal only begins the conversation about ways election practices can be improved. He said there are two main motivations to Reagan’s proposition: digitizing records and processes, and fixing issues that have come up in recent years. Parts of the proposal, such as requiring counties to report election data in uniform formats, would lead to faster and more detailed results for the public on election night, Roberts said.
Provisions addressing things like voter registration deadlines falling on holidays, or scrapping the requirement for counties to consolidate polling places during the presidential primary election come straight from problems in 2016.
But some county elections officials are wary. Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez said the plan lacks detail now, and she has concerns about what she’s seen. “These are very aggressive changes,” she said.
Specifically, Rodriguez said she sees some of the proposals as taking authority away from county election officials, like her, who are charged with executing elections. “The secretary of state does not issue ballots. They don’t check signatures. They don’t receive ballots. They don’t count ballots. These are all the responsibility of the counties,” she said.