Voting Rights Advocates Urge Reforms Following Arizona August 4 Primary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabrielle Abbott, firstname.lastname@example.org, 773.369.5358
PHOENIX — Voting rights experts and advocates from All Voting is Local Arizona, One Arizona, Election Protection Arizona, Arizona Advocacy Network & Foundation, Indian Legal Clinic, Arizona Coalition for Change/Our Voice Our Vote Arizona, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, and Living United for Change in Arizona evaluated the primary election this week and offered recommendations for avoiding serious problems in the general election.
Turnout for yesterday’s primary was high, with the majority of voters casting their ballots by mail, but polling place changes and lack of adequate signage caused confusion for some voters. Advocates called for reforms before November to avoid problems with mail-in ballots and ensure every polling place has enough poll workers, adheres to public health and safety guidelines, and is free from voter intimidation and misinformation.
An audio recording of the press briefing can be found here.
“Arizonans want their vote to count, and between now and the general election, officials need to act now to make sure that happens,” said Rosemary Avila, Arizona campaign manager for All Voting is Local. “Officials must safeguard mailed ballots with updated processes for verifying signatures and increase the number of polling places, so that voters have accessible options for casting their ballots in person.”
“Ultimately, we want to celebrate the increase in turnout,” said Montserrat Arredondo, executive director of One Arizona. “We know that as folks are voting in the primary, they’re more likely to vote in November. So we’re excited to see record-breaking numbers in this next general election.”
“Election Protection Arizona is proud Arizonans turned out in record numbers and largely experienced a quick and easy voting process, however all eligible Arizonas deserve to have that experience,” said Murphy Bannerman Election Protection Arizona Deputy Director. “EPAZ will continue to inform the public of the election protection hotline numbers and make sure voters receive the most accurate information before and on Election Day.”
“An estimated 8,000 eligible voters faced insurmountable barriers to the ballot in yesterday’s primary, as they were incarcerated in pre-trial detention in city and county jails across the state,” said Adrienne Carmack, deputy director of Arizona Advocacy Network and Foundation. “County officials must do better to ensure every eligible incarcerated voter has access to registration, voting information, and their ballot.” Learn more about the Arizona Coalition to End Jail-Based Disenfranchisement at VoteFromJail.org.
“Native Americans continue to face unique barriers to registering to vote and accessing critical information to vote,” said Torey Dolan, native vote fellow at the Arizona State University Indian Legal Clinic. “We know voting by mail is not a viable option for voters living on Tribal lands. We are grateful for all of the collaborative work that the counties and Tribes have put in to ensure that Native Americans can access the ballot, in their communities, and vote with ease. We encourage the counties to continue to work with the Tribes moving into the November Election and the Arizona Native Vote Election Protection Project, our hotline, will continue to be here to assist Tribes and voters.”
“Our Voice Our Vote Arizona is excited by the resilience of our communities, “ said Francisca Gil, political director for Arizona Coalition for Change/Our Voice Our Vote Arizona. “There is a lot more work to do but yesterday’s election reflects how strong and determined the voices of the people are.”
“We recommend including more visible signage at polling locations, and having those translated, as well, especially those that are on Tribal land,” said Alexander Castillo-Nunez, assistant coordinator for the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. “In response to the pandemic, we feel that it is important to provide additional alternatives for voters on Election Day. For example, providing a curbside option for those who may not feel safe going into a building to vote.
“Across the state—not just in Maricopa and Pima, but cumulatively—we were seeing tens of thousands of folks that have never voted, that are showing up and are energized and engaged,” said Randy Perez, democracy director for Living United for Change in Arizona. “I think there was a lot of good that happened yesterday and a lot to build on for the future. But, there is still so much that election officials can do, on a local level.”