TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Sun, Jan. 19

Early voting begins for Sept. 12 primary

Independent, non-partisan and other unaffiliated voters have their first chance to participate in the state's primary elections Sept. 12.

Legislation passed in 1998 allows these voters to cast ballots at this year's primaries.

Early voting in the primary began yesterday and continues through Sept. 8. You can vote at county offices in Cottonwood at the corner of Mingus and South Sixth Streets or in Prescott at 1015 Fair St.

Monday is the last day to register to vote in the primary.

The logistics of open primaries had Yavapai County elections officials asking the county board of supervisors for more money this year to comply with the new open primary law.

Under the law, which differs from California's "blanket primary" law recently declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, voters registered as Independents, non-partisan or not affiliated with the state's six recognized political parties will be mailed six sample ballots, representing the parties that have ballot status in the state. Those include the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Reform, Natural Law and Green parties.

At the polls, these voters may choose one ballot ticket and must vote that ticket across the board. All six tickets also will be posted at the polling places the day of the election.

County Recorder Patsy Jenney-Colón said some Arizona Democrats and Republicans switching party affiliations, believing all the candidates would be on the ballot like in California.

Over the past few months counties statewide have been purging and updating active voter registration rolls, so the numbers of registered voters are fluctuating, said Judy Allen-Wise, Yavapai County registrar of voters.

Allen-Wise said the county is seeing an increase in registration of voters outside the state's six parties that have ballot status.

"It's mainly non-partisan that has had a significant increase," Allen-Wise said.

The Secretary of State's office and the county are experiencing an increase in costs for printing and mailing the additional ballots.

In Yavapai County, as of Aug. 8 there were 87,397 registered voters. Jenney-Colón said 17,968 of those fall under the category of voters not affiliated with the state's six recognized parties. That means the Secretary of State has to mail them 103,000 sample ballots.

The Recorder's office also is printing extra ballots for the polling places, not knowing which party people will choose to vote for. Additional ballots can be printed on demand if they run out the day of the election.

With the deadline to register fast approaching, voter registration forms can be downloaded off the Secretary of State's Web site at www.sosaz.com/election/forms/VoterRegistrationForm.pdf; or you may pick them up at the Yavapai County Recorder's offices at 1015 Fair St., room 228, in Prescott, or at 10 S. Sixth St., room 131A, in Cottonwood. For more information call (520)-771-3248 in Prescott or (520) 639-5807 in Cottonwood.

Voter registration forms and early ballots may be dropped off at those locations as well. Registration forms are accepted at the drop-off boxes no later than midnight Aug. 14. Voter registration forms, if mailed, must be postmarked no later than Aug. 14.

Voters may also request early ballots at those locations or on the county's Web site at www.co.yavapai.az.us/Elections/ballot%20request.htm.

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