Limiting early ballots no way to help elections

A bill known as SB 1072 is currently in the State Legislature. It would prevent people from dropping their signed and sealed early ballot in a box at a poling place on Election Day, purportedly to speed up election counts and increase confidence in elections. But would it really do either of these things?

This would mean a lot of people on Election Day bringing in their ballots would be required to throw them away and, if they wanted to still vote, wait in line to vote using a new ballot. That would increase lines at polling places, an actual problem in the 2016 primary elections in Phoenix. Arbitrary changes in rules and long lines would not boost confidence. Some people might just leave, which would speed up voting by reducing the number of votes.

Does it even matter that we had to wait two weeks to find out who won the elections for U.S. Senate or Superintendent of Public Instruction? In a way, it was nice to wait for them to count every last vote, rather than seeing election “called” even before all the votes are cast.

If the legislature really wants to speed up vote counts for the next election, I suggest they get some extra funds for the Maricopa and Pima County Elections Offices to hire more poll workers, buy more ballot counting machines or update software. This would almost surely speed up vote counts without compromising people’s faith in the system or turning away voters.


AZ Daily Sun, February 24, 2019

Posted in Letters to the Editor and tagged , .