Maricopa County is expanding voting access for the August Primary Election, while focusing on the health and safety of voters and poll workers, according to plans approved by county officials Monday.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the revised election model — developed under the leadership of Scott Jarrett and Rey Valenzuela, both directors of the Elections Department — is designed to provide voters with a safe, secure, reliable and accessible August Primary Election, according to a release.
The Election Day and Emergency Voting Plan, approved by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Monday, June 22 includes:
Vote Center Election Model: Instead of one assigned polling location, voters will have 90-100 locations to choose from on Election Day. Vote Centers are located across the county, including on tribal land and in rural areas to ensure in-person voting is still an option for all communities.
Safety Protocols for In-Person Voting: All Vote Centers will provide space for physical distancing and will implement heightened safety and cleaning measures, including frequently cleaning high touch surfaces and disinfecting pens after each use. Poll Workers will wear gloves and masks and will offer voters gloves when checking in. For the safety of the voter and the safety of others, we encourage all voters to wear a mask and practice physical distancing when they visit a voting location.
Evening & Weekend Voting: To allow voters time to cast a ballot, polling locations will be open in phases before Election Day. In coordination with the Early Voting Plan, 50-60 locations will be open for at least two weeks, including in 23 malls and retail facilities across the county. The majority of the Vote Centers will offer extended hours of service including weekends and are located near bus routes and public transportation.
“We are facing a health crisis that has not been seen in generations. With historic turnout expected, our goal is to provide all Maricopa County voters with a safe and secure August Primary Election,” stated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4. “We had always planned to provide voters with precinct voting for the August Primary, but COVID-19 has required us to alter our initial plans in order to safely serve the voters."
The Early Voting Plan, approved by Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, includes:
Increased Access to Voting by Mail: Voters can easily request a one-time or permanent ballot in the mail at Request.Maricopa.Vote.
Safety Protocols for Ballot Processing: Maricopa County expects voters to cast more than 600,000 early ballots during the August Primary. The health and safety of staff and visitors at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center is critical to ensure the Elections Department can process and tabulate ballots and administer the Primary Election. All staff and visitors will be required to wear masks, receive daily temperature screenings and practice physical distancing when possible.
Concerted Voter Education & Outreach: The August 2020 Voter Options campaign informs voters about the safety, security and accessibility of voting by mail and in-person voting. The plan incorporates both Early Voting and Election Day voter outreach efforts as a comprehensive Primary Election plan.
“During this on-going health emergency, it is the top priority of our office to provide voters with safe and accessible ways to exercise their right to vote,” Mr. Fontes stated. “Our goal during this election cycle is to make voting at home easier and in-person voting safer for voters who choose to do so.”
With potentially historic voter turnout, the county is prepared for more than 700,000 voters to cast a ballot in the Primary Election, according to the release. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, election models estimated about 100,000 of those voters would turnout on Election Day, Aug. 4.
Voters can find out what’s on their ballot, sign up to vote by mail, find out where to vote and more at BeBallotReady.Vote