Preparing for the primary: Early voting begins July 31 - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

Preparing for the primary: Early voting begins July 31

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Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 8:50 am

Early voting for the primary election begins Thursday and the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office is making sure everyone, even independents, take advantage of their right to vote.

The recorder’s office has launched a public campaign to remind independents that they can vote in a primary, but they must let the county know which ballot they want to receive. Maricopa County residents can request a ballot at recorder.maricopa.gov.

Helen Purcell, Maricopa County recorder, said commercials from her office will be showing up on local stations and county officials also plan to piggyback on campaigns the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission is doing to make sure independent voters select a ballot for the primary. They’re also sending out a reminder by mail on July 24, which is one more reminder than required by law. Independent voters that do not select a ballot will not be sent one.

Each year, the recorder’s office tries something new to improve voter turnout and election turnaround, Purcell said. This year, the office has also changed up some technology. The new recorder’s website is viewable from any device and has more interactive features.

Residents can use the new site to find their polling place, get photos of the building and directions and even view a sample ballot.

Once people arrive at their polling place on Election Day, they’ll swipe their voter ID or driver’s license through an electronic poll book, which will tell them if they are in the right place. If they are not, the book will print a receipt with directions to the correct location. In the past, if voters showed up to the wrong polling place, they had to fill out a provisional ballot, which takes more time and money to verify, or guess on where the correct polling location was for them.

In 2012, 7,415 people went to the wrong polling place. Purcell said she hopes the new electronic poll book, which cost the county about $3 million to introduce, will cut down on those provisional ballots.

Those who request a ballot by mail should also remember to vote by mail or bring that same ballot to the polling place. People who request a ballot by mail and then show up at a polling place will have to fill out a provisional ballot.

As usual, Purcell reminds residents not to give their ballot to anyone to turn in for them.

This year, all live ballots will be mailed out and returned to the county in yellow envelopes. Purcell hopes the bright color will be recognizable for people so the ballot will not be thrown away.

The deadline to register to be eligible to vote in the primary is midnight on Monday, July 28. The deadline to request an early ballot is Aug. 15. The primary will be held Aug. 26.

To be eligible to register, a person must be a citizen of the United States, 18 or older and a resident of Arizona and the county listed on the person’s registration. To view personal voter registration information, visit the website for the Secretary of State’s Office at www.azsos.gov and click on the Voter View icon.

Residents can register by mail, in person and online. Mail-in registration forms are available at www.recorder.maricopa.gov and www.azsos.gov. In-person registration is also available at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, 510 S. Third Ave., Phoenix. If a legal Arizona resident has an identification card or driver license issued by the state, the resident may register to vote or update voter registration online at www.ServiceArizona.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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