All systems go for Pima County’s voting centers
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Elections Department conducted a second mock election after a few bugs were found when it held a test of its new voting centers last week.
The voting centers will be used for the first time for the Aug. 2 primary election.
A voting center differs from the traditional mode of voting because voters will be allowed to vote at any one of 129 sites scattered throughout the county rather than being required to vote in a precinct.
Under the old law, voters who cast ballots in the wrong precinct would have the ballot tossed as per state law. That was generally thousands of ballots a year. But it caused other issues as well.
When there were questions over the validity of a ballot, for any one of several reasons, the voters would cast a provisional ballot.
The numbers were staggering, tens of thousands of provisional ballots every election which had to be signature verified and checked to see if it valid. It could take up to ten days to verify them meaning election races would not be called for nearly two weeks.
The vote centers should end that.
“So we will definitely be getting rid of provisional ballots for those who are out of precinct because those individuals can show up anywhere to vote,” said Pima County Elections Director Constance Hargrove. “So that will take care of that.”
There will still be some provisional ballots but not as many. The vote centers should eliminate at least 4,000 out of precinct ballots.
As for the second mock election “the process went well, the flow went well,” Hargrove said.
Many of the 65 to 70 voters who participated were pleased with the process as well.
“It took me a couple of minutes to go through the actual checking in, processing, voting,” said Bill Anderson who always votes in person. “So very quick, very simple, very effortless almost.”
“I thought it was very quick,” said Dominque Dutton. “I presented my ID, the information checked out, I got my ballot voted it dropped in the box.. and here we are.”
Pone area which might cause some concern for some voters has nothing to do with the ballot process.
In an effort to find enough Democratic and Republican poll workers, they have to be evenly matched by party, Pima County suspended the vaccine requirement for one day poll workers. According to county statistics, only 30% of them will be vaccinated.
“Some of the poll workers will not be vaccinated so we will ask them to wear a mask to make sure we are protecting the public and other workers they’re sitting close to,” Hargrove said.
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