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Posted on: February 13, 2020

Board of Supervisors Votes to Intervene in Elections Case

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Maricopa County leaders want a seat at the table if they’re asked to implement a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling regarding out-of-precinct voting. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to request the County be allowed to intervene in the case at the federal district court.

“We have invested heavily in Elections in 2020, adding more people and millions of dollars in tabulation equipment, and drawing up detailed election plans,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4. “This ruling has the potential to undo all of that work.”

The Supervisors’ request to intervene will focus on a rarely-mentioned part of the ruling that impacts how Arizona handles provisional ballots for out-of-precinct voters. With 2.3 million registered voters, changing voting plans during an election cycle that is projected to have historic voter turnout creates the potential for long lines at voting locations and the risk of complications that could negatively impact voters.

“We hope to help the district court understand the logistics around serving more than two million registered voters,” said Supervisor Bill Gates, District 3. “The ruling says people from different precincts should be able to vote anywhere in the county. In a county this big, with thousands of different ballot styles and hundreds of polling locations, this is just not practical. We know our elections will be watched closely and we do not need to create undue risk and confusion for Maricopa County voters.””

The Election Department currently offers 40 locations across the county where registered voters may vote regardless of their designated precinct.

“In Maricopa County, we have expanded our ability for people to vote regardless of where they live at one of our 40 vote-anywhere vote centers,” said Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes. “This motion to intervene will allow us to work with the court to find additional long-term strategies to address the out-of-precinct voting issue.”

The Democratic National Committee v. Hobbs case is currently stayed. This issue should not affect the upcoming Tempe and Chandler city elections on March 10 or the Democratic Presidential Preference Election on March 17.

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