Wisdom of mail-in ballots never more obvious

The need for Cottonwood to join the rest of the Verde Valley with mail-in balloting was never more obvious Tuesday night.

First, once again, Cottonwood's voter turnout does not hold a candle to its Verde Valley counterparts. Cottonwood's turnout in Tuesday's primary was ballyhooed on the city's Web site late Tuesday as "large." But by the time the final votes were counted, only 18 percent of the city's voters had cast ballots in what was perhaps the most highly anticipated election in Cottonwood history. Across the Valley, mail-in balloting resulted in a 59-percent voter turnout in Camp Verde.

Let's do a comparison this way: Cottonwood has 664 more registered voters than Camp Verde. Camp Verde had 1,732 more people vote Tuesday. Or, consider this: The fewest votes any candidate in Camp Verde received totaled 768. The most any candidate in Cottonwood received was 612.

Then there is the issue of counting votes in a mail-in election vs. the traditional ballot box method.

Camp Verde's election results were posted on the county's Web site at 7:21 p.m. Tuesday. More than 2,700 ballots were processed and accounted for in a mere 21 minutes after the 7 p.m. voting deadline.

In Cottonwood, the city posted an announcement on its Web site at 10:15 p.m. that because of the "large voter turnout" in Tuesday's primary, it would be another two hours or more before votes were counted and posted.

The results were finally posted on the city's Web site at 1:25 a.m. Wednesday.

Camp Verde's process through the county took 21 minutes for 2,727 ballots. It took more than six hours for Cottonwood to count, process and post 955 ballots to its Web site.

Old Moses could have gone to the mountaintop and carved them in stone faster.

Cottonwood's tired old arguments about the sanctity of the traditional voting process do not hold water. Mail-in balloting gets the vote out, pure and simple, and ultimately that is what is important.

And you sure can count 'em quicker with mail-in balloting. Even Old Moses couldn't turn it around in 21 minutes.

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