Arizona’s top elections officer asks for all-mail voting rest of year

Mar 18, 2020, 11:17 AM | Updated: 1:17 pm

(AP Photo)...

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Secretary of State has asked state legislators to authorize all-mail voting for the August primaries and November general election in case of a public health emergency.

Katie Hobbs emailed a letter to both houses Wednesday, the day after Arizona’s presidential preference election.

“The counties need the flexibility in an emergency to be able to conduct an all-mail election,” Hobbs told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“We don’t know how long this crisis is going to continue. It would have been nice to have that for the presidential preference that we just held.

“We need the flexibility now to start planning … August and November.”

In the letter, citing health concerns for workers, Hobbs wrote “it would be unreasonable to ask these officials to once again overcome these circumstances, should they still exist or are exacerbated” in voting down the road.

Hobbs asked the county boards of supervisors be given authority to conduct all-mall voting for the next two elections.

She pointed out that state law allowed the emergency option for “jurisdictional elections … to be conducted in this manner” and that legislation had already been introduced that could accomplish it.

Although she did not mention the coronavirus pandemic by name, Hobbs referred to a public health emergency and risk of infection.

“Arizona and Maricopa County are prepared to go to all ballot by mail, which given the health circumstances, is simply [for] the best bet,” Adrian Fontes, recorder for Maricopa County, the state’s most populous region, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

“We already know how to do this,” he said. In the August 2018 primary, 85% of voters made their choices at home.

The number dropped slightly to 80% in the general election.

“Arizona should be voting in the mail already,” Fontes told the show.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report.

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Arizona’s top elections officer asks for all-mail voting rest of year