Final canvass of votes approved in Maricopa County, with possible election changes on horizon

November 26, 2012

The final canvass of votes in Maricopa County was approved Monday. Though the vote count is over, possible changes to the election system could be on the way. 

Although some vocal critics who said Maricopa County was tabulating ballots too slowly, County Recorder Helen Purcell said the count actually took one fewer day than in 2008, despite a big bump in early ballots turned in late and far more provisional ballots.

Purcell said one way to curb all the provisional votes could be a new law stipulating that people on the Permanent Early Voting List will automatically be removed from that list if they show up and want to vote in person on Election Day. That kind of voter made up 50 percent of provisional ballots cast.

“But I think along with that, we need to educate the people who are on the Permanent Early Voting List to make sure that they understand that they’re going to get a ballot [in the mail] and that means that if they go to their polling place, they have to vote provisional," Purcell said. "So maybe that’s something they want to rethink.”

Another proposal is moving from polling places to voting centers that can accommodate any registered voter in the county. But Maricopa County is big – by population, bigger than nearly half the states in the Union. Purcell said there are concerns of equipment, space, and practicality to consider, but that perhaps a hybrid of the two could work.

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