BLOG: Maricopa County Shows Why It’s Important to Have Great Local Election Officials

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes just took matters into his own hands to make voting easier for his constituents. He’s shifting the Arizona county to an all-mail voting system. What does that mean? Glad you asked!
  • Every eligible voter receives a ballot in the mail.
  • To vote, you simply fill out the ballot, place it in a secrecy envelope, and then into a mailing envelope. The voter then signs an affidavit on the exterior of the mailing envelope, and submits the ballot by dropping it in the mail or taking it to a “ballot center”.
Before, the only people who received ballots in the mail were “early voters” or folks voting absentee who requested to have ballots mailed to them. Now, everyone has a chance to vote early and from the convenience of their home. 
All-mail voting helps prevent fraud by analyzing signatures and matching identity information with registered addresses. If the name on the ballot sent to you in the mail is incorrect, you can’t use that ballot without providing a matching signature. The transition to the all-mail voting system may save Maricopa County tens of millions of dollars over the next few years. 
But Recorder Fontes didn’t stop there – he’s making it easier to vote in person too. If you’re voting in person, you will no longer need to find your assigned polling place, you can go to any of the 100 vote centers anywhere in the county and simply use a computer kiosk to scan your ID or enter personally identifiable information. The kiosk then determines which kind of ballot you need and prints it for you.  The whole process takes about 30 seconds and reduces wait time overall by simply offering more available equipment and staff. Also, hard-working people will have more time to vote with the extra days they’ve added to the early voting period.  
We can all learn a lot from the leaders like Adrian Fontes in Maricopa county, who are working to make voting both safer and more accessible. That’s about as American as it gets.