We’re extremely proud that our County Board of Supervisors is one of two counties in the State to join a host of others defending early voting by mail in the Arizona Supreme Court. The Arizona Republican Party filed an extraordinary lawsuit directly in the Supreme Court arguing that anything but voting in person, at a polling place, and on a single Election Day is unconstitutional. The briefs supporting the state’s current voting system come from an array of groups and individuals, such as Secretary of State Katie Hobbs; Kris Mayes, a Democratic candidate for state attorney general; the Arizona Democratic Party; the League of Women Voters, a fellow from the American Enterprise Institute (politics makes strange bedfellows), and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
Ending early voting would create “chaos” for voters of Coconino County, 83% of whom voted by mail in 2020, our Board of Supervisors argued in its brief to the court. The geography of this expansive and mostly rural county — which is larger than nine states — makes voting in person a challenge, the brief says.
“The purpose of an election is to determine the will of the governed, not to test the degree of their fortitude and determination to cast their vote.” (Coconino County brief.)
Some Coconino residents would have to drive more than 60 miles one way to get to a polling place. Many temporarily stay closer to work in developed areas and then return home to permanent residences, necessitating a mail-in ballot, the county says. Those voters include people who live on the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation and in Supai Village, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, which is only accessible by hiking, horse, and helicopter.
Maricopa County, the other county opposing the Republican lawsuit, called it an “existential threat,” noting that a quick calculation found the county would need to add 1,200 polling places — a 12-fold increase — to accommodate a one-day, at-the-polls model.