Advocates Call on Arizona Officials for Safe, Meaningful Options to Expand Access to the Ballot
PHOENIX – Arizona elections officials, public health experts, and advocacy organizations urged the Arizona governor, secretary of state, and legislature to ensure safe and secure elections this fall, including providing every registered voter with their ballot by mail, while preserving safe in-person voting options.
Without these considerations, primarily vote-by-mail systems could create barriers to voting for many historically disenfranchised groups, including eligible voters needing language assistance, voters with disabilities needing accommodations, low-income voters for whom the state lacks a current address, rural voters, Native American voters, and voters living on Tribal lands with limited access to home mail service.
The full video of the briefing can be found here.
“We know that Arizonans want to vote, we know that this election is important, and we know that ensuring safety—the same way as we ensured the safety of our battle buddies while we were fighting overseas—is absolutely the most important thing we can do as we take all actions to ensure the safety of our neighbors and our families during this election season,” said Aaron Marquez, western states director of Vets Forward.
“Perception of risk is an important component of how people behave on a day-to-day basis,” said Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. “And it would be a shame if we passed on an opportunity, like the vote by mail plus approach, that’s simple, that’s doable, and a good, common-sense intervention, that can help increase participation in our democratic process that the republic is founded upon.”
“Part of keeping our elections secure means ensuring the health and safety of everyone participating in our elections. I want to call on our legislature and our governor to allow counties to mail ballots for the August primary and the November general elections to all registered voters in our county,” said Patty Hansen, the county recorder for Coconino County. “I’m not asking that we do away with in-person voting, in all instances. We will need those in-person voting locations for people who may need additional assistance, whether it’s language, or if they have accessibility needs because of a disability.”
“In Arizona, cities like Prescott Valley, Surprise, Pinetop, Lakeside, Clarkdale, Peoria, Payson, Paradise Valley, Litchfield Park, and Globe conduct their elections using a vote by mail process,” said Richard Fimbres, a Tucson city councilmember. “This is not something new, but a good practice and process, to conduct elections and prevent people from getting sick, and exercise their democratic right to vote.”
Community advocates have collected 1,000+ petition signatures to Governor Doug Ducey and legislative leadership in support of ensuring secure, accessible elections with considerations to public health and safety, by implementing the following solutions:
- Mail every eligible Arizona voter a ballot
- Require safe and meaningful in-person options for people without reliable mail service, or who need accommodations or language assistance
- Ensure sufficient in-person and mail-in opportunities on tribal lands and consult meaningfully with tribal leaders before approving changes
- Extend early voting and registration deadlines
The full petition can be found here.