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Maricopa County elections official faces big test with mail-in only voting

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LISTEN: Adrian Fontes

PHOENIX — The first significant test of a technology-driven voting system in Maricopa County will put election official Adrian Fontes in the spotlight during Tuesday’s all-mail balloting.

Fontes, elected last fall to replace longtime recorder Helen Purcell, will be spending at least part of his day checking in at the centers across the Valley, where voters can drop off their ballots.

“The ballot-by-mail system … it’s kind of interesting. It’s a lot of fun,” Fontes told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“You’re not limited to one place to vote for this all mail-in election.”

Fontes has been persistent in his push to modernize the county’s voting system.

After his election, he said one of his goals was to prevent long lines at the polls. That issue plagued the 2016 presidential preference voting, along with technology problems and eventually led to Purcell’s ouster.

Not all registered voters in Maricopa County will need to participate. This election was restricted to some city and town bonds and school districts.

The county has set up 27 ballot centers handle drop-off voters. The centers will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

“If you didn’t mail in your ballot, it can be dropped off at a ballot center,” he said. “If you live Gilbert (but) you’re having lunch up in Surprise with some friends, the folks here in Surprise can print that Gilbert ballot.”

Voters can request replacements for lost, damaged or spoiled ballot at any of the centers. They can also ask to vote on the spot if they have recently moved but didn’t get a new a ballot with their latest address.

“You can come into our ballot centers, verify where your address is and, you can get your ballot for the district where you live,” Fontes said.

Ballots had to be returned by post on Nov. 1.

“We’ve got a lot of folks out here working day in and day out for the last several days making sure folks have the information they need,” he said.

Voters can also call 602-506-1511 for ballot information.


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