Maricopa Elections Officials Try To Double Polling Sites For May Special Election

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 5:27pm

Maricopa County elections officials say they are working to expand the number of polling centers for the May 17 special election after just 60 polling sites proved to be too few in last week’s presidential preference election.

The special election in May will ask voters to weigh in on propositions dealing with education financing and changes to public retirement programs for public safety employees.

Like on March 22, voters will be able to choose any polling center in the county to visit. But after polling stations were plagued by long lines and some were unable to accommodate the last voters until after midnight, county election officials are promising to raise the number of polling sites beyond 60.

“We are going for double,” County Elections Director Karen Osborne told the Board of Supervisors Wednesday. “We are trying everything we can do to get double the polling places for the May election if we can possibly. We are calling places. But (they) have to be large.”

In an email, County Elections Communications Manager Elizabeth Bartholomew said her office is considering training more poll workers and adding more ePollbooks to each site for May.  

"We definitely want to make some changes so that what happened last Tuesday never happens again," Bartholomew said.

Osborne told the supervisors on Wednesday that looking ahead to the August primary and the November general, each of the county’s 724 precincts will have a polling place, either in the precinct or in a neighboring one.

In those elections, voters will have to go to their designated polling site.

Osborne said that was the plan the U.S. Department of Justice had approved when Arizona was still required to seek pre-clearance on election policies.