Sun, July 21

My Turn: Election was 'Perfect Storm' in Yavapai County

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, Yavapai County and the State of Arizona participated in what is called the Presidential Preference Election (PPE). Unlike other State and Federal elections that we hold in Yavapai County, this election had some very specific laws that we must follow, such as, only allowing voters of those parties that have decided to participate in the election to cast a ballot, and of course because fewer voters are allowed to vote in this election, to consolidate polling places to accommodate for the smaller number of voters that go to the polls. There are other laws and procedures we must follow for all elections, many of which complicate the process for voters.

For this last election, it seems like the perfect storm hit Yavapai County (and Arizona) in that several factors came into play that caused long lines and difficult voting conditions. Although many factors are out of our control, ultimately in the end, as the designated Officer in Charge of Elections and Elections Director, we believe we need to take responsibility for this difficult election and assure voters that the many factors, such as consolidation of polling places, will not be in effect for the September and November elections.

We will also be conducting a study session some time in March or April with the Board of Supervisors to revamp the way certain functions are handled at the polls, such as I.D. requirements, provisional ballots, number of poll workers and polling sites.

We would like to acknowledge those who have conveyed their concerns about the process on Tuesday, February 5th. We have tried to return every phone call received, and answer every letter or e-mail. What happened during the Presidential Preference is not indicative of how we have handled this position since 2004. Many of you have acknowledged this and confided that this is what was so upsetting about the PPE.

We have always been very proud of what we do to handle elections for Yavapai County and have always been on the top in the State for voter participation and how we handle voters and the whole electoral process.

The one thing that can make any election a success is our poll workers. We would like to take a minute to thank all of our election workers including staff and poll workers for their dedication to the process. Our poll workers are the best. Thank you to everyone who called and asked to be put on the poll worker recruitment list. We will be looking to try and increase the amount of poll workers per polling site for September and November, and we are always open to your comments and suggestions.

Thank you for caring so much about our electoral process and re-enforcing your concerns to us.