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County elections officials are applauding a sweeping change to Arizona election laws. The measure approved by state lawmakers allows county recorders to remove people who do not regularly show up at the polls from permanent early voting lists.Officials in each Arizona county pushed for passage of the measure that takes effect in 2015. It requires counties to mail notices to voters before each election asking if they want to remain on the permanent early voting list.
Maricopa county elections director Karen Osborne said what happens is that people sign up for early voting through the mail but then often show up at the polls on Election Day. That means they have to fill out a provisional ballot and that requires extra work.
“We think that it saves a tremendous amount of money, it saves about six dollars apiece for the provisionals," Osborne said.
Last year, Maricopa County processed 60,000 provisional ballots. Osborne said counties cannot purge anyone from an early voting list until after they fail to participate in four consecutive elections.
Latino groups oppose the law. They contend it discriminates against immigrants who may not understand the process.