Huckelberry seeks help to smooth elections

Letter to Bennett lists problems, ideas to help ballot counting
2012-11-29T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T11:18:40Z Huckelberry seeks help to smooth electionsBecky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 29, 2012 12:00 am  • 

To make sure ballot counting goes more quickly in the next election, there's a lot of work to be done.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry sent a four-page letter about it to Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett Tuesday, outlining election problems and offering help finding solutions.

Among the problems highlighted by Huckelberry:

• Counting provisional and conditional ballots takes too long. One reason is there are many more of them than in past elections, because of the rise of early voting, redistricting and a less-than-perfect voter list.

• A lot of voters who signed up to vote early dropped off their ballots at a polling place on Election Day. Verifying those ballots more quickly will take more staff and equipment.

• Pima County's voting equipment needs to be replaced, but it will cost $6 million and require federal certification.

"This equipment was state-of-the-art in 2000, but it has gained antique status in 2012," Huckelberry said in the memo.

Matt Roberts, spokesman for the secretary of state, said it's the responsibility of both the state and county to update election equipment, and Bennett knows new election equipment is needed.

Besides pointing out problems, Huckelberry offered solutions, too, saying, "We are ready to assist in meaningful election process modifications." Among his proposed solutions:

• The state could start a pilot project in Pima County to use scanners to help in the ballot audit process that follows an election.

Roberts said the state wants to upgrade election infrastructure, but it needs to prioritize and will look at the pilot project as an option.

• The state could use the county's Election Integrity Commission, the only one of its kind in the state, for expertise in a needed update of the state election procedures.

• The state could make it easier for people who change their addresses on their drivers' licenses after they move to change their addresses on their voter registrations at the same time.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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