ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County Recorder Richer releases proposal for election reform

Jan 13, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 11:27 am
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer announced Thursday a proposal to make changes to Arizona election laws that could speed up the ballot tabulation system.

The proposal comes months after the state faced criticism for the amount of time it takes to count all the ballots under the current system.

“I think the number one thing that we hear about is ‘we’d like to know the winning candidate faster,'” Richer said. 

For that reason, the county recorder said he would like to eliminate the “late early ballots” issue, which are early ballots returned on election day. Richer faults late early ballots for the state not having 95% of the results on election night, saying the process prior to tabulating them takes a while. 

“Those early ballots come back in their signed and sealed envelopes. Those have to be scanned in, they have to be imaged, they have to be signature verified, they have to be audited, they have to be sent to a bipartisan ballot processing team, and then — only then — can they be sent forward to tabulation,” Richer said. 

Richer added the number of these ballots being dropped off during Arizona’s election cycles continues to grow.

According to the proposal, in Maricopa County, voters dropped off 290,735 early ballots at vote locations on Election Day in the November 2022 election. In 2020, there were 172,499 ballots dropped off on Election Day. 

Richer proposed eliminating the late early ballots by requiring all early ballots to be dropped off by 5 p.m. Friday before elections. The proposal goes on to say anyone who wants to vote after that date still can but will need to drop their ballot off at a designated location. 

“A lot of people pointed to Florida as a model that they wanted to craft Arizona’s elections to reflect,” Richer said. “If you look at Florida, they can drop off their early ballots up until the close of the early voting period,” Richer said. 

He believes this will allow Arizona to have 95% of the results within the first 24 hours. 

“I want to create a situation in which Arizonans can know within 24 hours who is winning these important contests,” Richer said. 

He also proposed the idea of allowing on-site ballot tabulation for multiple days. Currently, Arizona law allows on-site tabulation on Election Day only. The proposal would allow counties to tabulate on-site the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before elections. 

Richer would also like to see politics taken out of the recorder’s office. 

“It might not be in the public’s best interest to have the office that is overseeing requests being made by the political parties decimate himself or herself as one of those political parties,” Richer said. 

The proposal also questions if the position should even be elected. 

Now it is up to the state lawmakers to draft new election laws and adopt some of Richer’s suggestions.

Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM he has spoken with republican Senate President Warren Peterson and democratic governor Katie Hobbs’ teams about election reform. 

“There’s a little bit of a different preface profile for, say, the governor versus Senate President Peterson, but I think that some of these ideas offer a middle ground and could be potentially workable,” Richer said.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(L-R) Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Sen. Todd Youg (R-IN) sit together du...
KTAR.com

Arizona politicians react to Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech

Joe Biden wrapped up his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, and politicians from Arizona responded predominantly along party lines.
1 day ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress as ...
KTAR.com

Joe Biden urges Congress to pass comprehensive border reform during State of the Union

President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address urged Republicans and Democrats to work together on border legislature. 
1 day ago
Francisco Gurrola (Department of Public Safety Photo)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for 41-year-old man last seen in Phoenix

A silver alert was issued on Tuesday evening for a 41-year-old man last seen in the area of Campbell and 63rd avenues in Phoenix.
1 day ago
President Biden gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress at the U.S....
KTAR.com

Watch: President Joe Biden gives 2nd State of Union address

President Joe Biden gave his second State of the Union address in office to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on Tuesday night.
1 day ago
From left, Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena Jr., Logan Henderson and James Maslow, members of Big Time ...
Wills Rice

Big Time Rush’s ‘Can’t Get Enough Tour’ comes to Phoenix in August

For those that grew up with the Nickelodeon television show Big Time Rush, you are in for a big treat when their tour comes to town.
1 day ago
U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas addresses the media during a ...
KTAR.com

Homeland Sec. Mayorkas says there is no credible threat against Super Bowl in Arizona

An increased security presence will be deployed at the Super Bowl, with every person, piece of merchandise and equipment screened.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Maricopa County Recorder Richer releases proposal for election reform