Maricopa County Recorder Hopes Ballot Name Change Clears Up Confusion

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 9:03am
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 6:04pm
Adrian Fontes Maricopa County Recorder/Facebook
Adrian Fontes.

Maricopa County’s roughly 40 vote centers allow all residents to vote in them, regardless of where they live. But for many on primary day in August, checking into a vote center was confusing.

The Maricopa County recorder said his department has fixed that problem.

The confusion stemmed from the fact that people at vote centers were being instructed to vote “provisional.” Provisional ballots cast at vote centers do count — but many voters still don’t trust them.

"When people hear the word 'provisional', they automatically think it’s not going to count, and that was really a communication problem and an education problem from our side that we fixed in the system," said Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

Fontes said they changed the wording. Now, at vote centers, people from outside the neighborhood will be told to cast an “out-of-precinct” ballot. It’s a change in vocabulary that Fontes hopes will settle things.

"By calling them out-of-precinct ballots, we’re eliminating that confusion, which is really an important part of voter access, [making] it as simple [and] easy to understand for folks as possible," said Fontes.

So if you’re at a vote center and get an out-of-precinct ballot, that counts. Neighborhood polling places will also be used on Election Day, November 6. Or you can vote early. Some locations are open during the day, and approximately 1.5 million mail-in ballots went out on Wednesday. 

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