Maricopa County Recorder proposes changes to speed up Arizona's election process

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer is proposing some changes to Arizona's election process that aim to speed up the tabulation process and get race results faster.

It took nearly two weeks for county elections workers to finalize the November 2022 election results. Officials blame in part the high number of "late earlies" - early ballots that were dropped off on Election Day.

"Then that still has to come back to us, we have to image it, we have to signature verify, we have to audit, and only then can it go to central county tabulation," said Richer.

The county recorder is proposing a change to the law that would require early ballots to be turned in – early.

"When we’re getting so many of them on Election Night, as we did in the last election, that means you have a sizable percentage of results that are not available…within the first 24 hours," Richer said.

Nearly 300,000 early ballots were dropped off on Election Day last November. That's 20% of all ballots cast.

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Richer said he also wants to expand the use of tabulation machines. Currently, they can only be used to count ballots on Election Day, not during early voting. Expanding its use could also catch any glitches.

"Maybe some of those issues that happened on Election Day would’ve been on identified on Saturday and maybe could be remedied before Election Day," Richer said.

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Arizona's new Secretary of State Adrian Fontes issued this statement: "Like all proposals, I will give it the consideration it deserves."

Ultimately, state lawmakers would have to come up with a bill that would pass the Legislature and be signed into law by the governor during this new session for any changes to take effect for the 2024 presidential election year.

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