Secretary of State wants to improve, not scrap, Arizona's election system

November 20, 2012

As the ballot count wraps up in Arizona, Secretary of State Ken Bennett is getting ready to review the state’s election system and find ways to improve it -- but Bennett has made clear he doesn’t want to simply start over. 

A report over the weekend said Secretary Bennett was looking for an "overhaul" of Arizona’s election system. Tuesday, Bennett held a press conference where he pointed out the first definition of overhaul in the dictionary is “to examine thoroughly.”

“When you overhaul a car, you don’t end up with a train or a helicopter," Bennett said. "You still end up with a car, and you do it in a manner that it functions, hopefully, better than it was before. When I talk about overhauling the system, we’re going to do what we normally would do after any election: meet with the counties multiple times over the next weeks and months, evaluate what went right, and what areas we can improve in.”

One idea is to transition in some areas from polling places to voting centers, where any registered voter in the county can cast a ballot or turn in an early ballot in person. At a voting center, early ballots that get dropped off on election day would hopefully be counted that same day.

"Instead of it going in a box and waiting to be taken down to a central count location and processed over the next week, if that signature could be checked at the voting center, then that ballot could be part of the results that are released at 8 o’clock that night," Bennett said.

Bennett plans to meet soon with county recorders and supervisors, as well as state legislators. If any of the election changes decided on cost money, he’s hoping for an allocation in next year’s state and county budgets.

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