Cochise County to provide improved access for voters

Updated: Feb. 20, 2018 at 9:46 PM MST
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COCHISE COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Cochise County's Elections Department will relocate one of its vote centers in Bisbee to improve access and services for the general public.

Lisa Marra, Elections Director, said moving the center from the First Baptist Church of Bisbee, located on State Hwy. 92, to the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room at nearby Melody Lane, will provide more parking and staff availability to assist voters.

"This location is also still on the bus route," she told the Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting on February 13. "We don't think there's a facility we can move to that has better access."

In August 2015 the Board of Supervisors authorized the use of 18 vote centers strategically placed throughout the county, allowing the public to vote at any location, rather than a designated polling station. They were utilized during four elections in 2016.

Following a review of those centers at a work session in January, it was also determined the vote center located at Portal's Myrtle Kraft Library should be closed and the equipment moved to Douglas. This will allow the expansion of the vote center at Douglas Visitor Center on E. 16th Street.

"Portal had just 51 people use the vote center in the 2016 General Election," said Marra. "Most of the voters in Portal are on the Permanent Early Voting List, or they can choose to go to the nearest vote center in Douglas, or any other vote center in the county that is convenient to them."

Board chairman Ann English, whose district includes Portal, said she was told by a number of local residents they did not feel the need to have a vote center in the community.

The Board unanimously approved the requested changes for the 2018 Primary and General Elections. There will now be 17 vote centers for those elections.

"These are good decisions and make the best use of the equipment we have," added English.

Eligible county voters are encouraged to sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) and receive an early ballot for every election they are qualified to participate in. To join the PEVL, and vote from the convenience of your home, call the Cochise County Recorder's Office at (520) 432-8358.

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