Wed, May 22

Primary a test of new voter ID rules

New voting rules resulting from passage of Proposition 200 in the 2004 general election had their first real test in this month's primary.

The rules require that voter's present some form of identification with a photo, name and address before voting.

Yavapai County Recorder Ana Wayman Trujillo said that the new identification regulations accounted for some of the 1,300 provisional ballots cast at the Sept. 12 primary.

"One reason it took longer to get the final count was we had a good voter turnout ­­ about 30-plus percent," Trujillo said. "The other reason was that we had a lot more provisional ballots to be counted than we usually do."

According to Trujillo, the larger than average number of provisional ballots may have been, in part, due to poll workers erring on the side of caution as far as enforcing the new voting identification regulations.

"I thing there were a lot of voters who did not have to vote a provisional," Trujillo said, "which is not a bad thing. The poll workers took their jobs seriously which is a good thing.

"We will be working to clarify the rules to the poll workers by the November general election. I would also like to see voters have a clearer understanding of what they need to bring in when they vote."

Trujillo said one of the major reasons voters had to cast provisional ballots is because they brought in older drivers licenses that did not have their correct address.

"The state law says you only need to notify the DMV when you move. It doesn't say you have to get a new license with that new address on it. The address has to match what we have on our voter roles," she said.

Another reason provisional ballots had to be cast, according to Trujillo, was that voters tried to vote outside of the precinct in which they were registered.

"When folks move, they have to let us know. They can vote at the new precinct, but once again they have to vote provisionally until we can verify they were registered at their old precinct," Trujillo said.

She said they also had a lot of voters who simply turned up at the wrong precinct to vote or thought they were registered when they weren't. By state law, those votes were disqualified.

Trujillo said that at this time she is unsure how many of the 1300 provisional ballots were disqualified.

"Part of the reason this vote count took as long as it did is because we checked and double checked every ballot. We do not want to disenfranchise anyone," Trujillo said.

She also said the county had 31 conditional-provisional ballots cast. They are ballots in which the voter had no form of identification.

Voters casting the conditional-provisional ballots had until Friday to come into the elections department and provide the necessary identification.

Only two voters of the 31 returned to identify themselves. The other 29 ballots were disqualified.