As Election Day nears, some voters in Glendale and Peoria remain concerned about their mail-in ballots being counted due to worries of election fraud. County and local officials say steps have been taken for a secure election.
“Maricopa County has been providing every voter with the option to request a ballot in the mail since 1996. We have layers of oversight to ensure only valid ballots are counted,” said Rey Valenzuela, director of early voting and election services with the Maricopa County Elections Department. “We plan to make sure that no matter what option voters choose, it’s safe, accessible and secure.”
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Arizona has already taken voting precautions that aid in avoiding unfair difficulties caused by the impacts of COVID-19. These precautions include providing an online tool for voters to request an absentee ballot, allowing all voters to vote by mail and providing pre-paid postage for absentee ballots.
The Brennan Center for Justice also believes Arizona has some changes it still needs to make, including the acceptance of late-arriving ballots postmarked by Election Day and the opportunity to fix incorrectly marked absentee-ballot envelopes post-election.
While these changes support social distancing by allowing voters to mark their ballots from their own homes, they are also causing an increase in the amount of people voting by mail. This increase has contributed to a raise in the concern for a lack of mail-in voting security.
“Arizona in particular has a long and proud history of voting by mail,” said Gina Roberts, voting education director for the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. “80% of voters have already chosen this method, so the majority of our voters have been voting by mail, and I think that right there is proof that the system works and that the system is secure.”
Roberts also says there is transparency for voters using the mail-in ballot process, because Arizona allows for voters to track the status of their ballot online, allowing one to receive confirmation that their ballot was received.
Election security and mail-in voting also relate to the issue of voter suppression, a problem Arizona has dealt with in the past. The Lincoln Project, a political action committee, has partnered with the Democracy Labs in support of putting an end to voter suppression.
See Say 2020 provides Arizona voters with a survey to fill out, allowing them to vocalize any issues they might have had with the voting process. This includes issues with voter registration, polling places, ballots and voter intimidation.
Glendale has a drop-off location at City Hall and polling places across the city to ensure there are accessible locations for everyone to turn in their ballots on time.
“What’s unique here in Arizona is the number of options that voters have,” Roberts said. “Arizona has well over 140 secure drop boxes throughout the state that voters can utilize to return it, or any voting location, whether that’s early or on Election Day.”
In the city of Peoria, there are secure ballot boxes available in the Peoria City Clerk’s Office and the Peoria Sports Complex.