SAFETY FIRST: All Vote-by-Mail Elections
The COVID-19 virus and the recent election is a warning.
If the election had been held one week later, we would not have been able to open polling places, and many people would have lost their right to vote.
We saw what happened in Wisconsin. Voters sacrificed safety to have their voice heard but how many voters sacrificed their voice for safety?
All vote-by-mail elections should be a county decision. The Legislature refused to allow counties to control their election processes. County recorders and election officials (including our own Recorder, F. Ann Rodriguez and Elections Director, Brad Nelson,) make an easy case to change the current laws.
The Legislature chose to ignore the experience and expertise of these county officials.
The facts are clear all vote-by-mail would save money as well as protect voters and workers.
The next election will require 1,500 workers at polling places. Many poll workers are over 65 and at high-risk. We need to protect their health.
Counties with predominantly rural and tribal populations struggle with the mail system. With an approach that incorporates both all vote-by-mail and vote centers all voters are served while allowing for safer elections.
Here in Pima County, 900,000 vote-by-mail ballots will be mailed in this 2020 election year. Already, 80% of votes cast in our county are vote-by-mail.
This is not a partisan issue. Statewide, 80% of Republicans and 81% of Democrats currently vote for candidates in the convenience of their homes.
Of Pima County’s voter eligible population (VEP) over 82% are registered. Voter confidence in our system and increased voter engagement are evident.
This is a health and safety issue.
States with little experience, are positioning themselves to go all vote-by-mail. The Pima County Recorder’s Office has managed vote-by mail-elections. We started planning the 2020 election year the minute 2018 ended. We got this.
Pima County has one of the most secure, impartial, accurate, and voter-friendly election systems in Arizona. Pima County’s ballot process is one of the best in the United States.
Heed the COVID-19 warning and make elections safer for our community.
To our legislators, let counties choose what’s best for them. The majority will choose all vote-by-mail. The facts are clear, and 80% of Arizona voters would agree.
Please join with me in thanking the election workers that made the March 17th Presidential Preference Election a success. Let’s thank them by putting systems in place to reduce exposure and keep our elections safe for the future.