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Arizona

Arizona did little in 2020 in regards to its mail voting system and took steps backward to reduce access to the ballot in 2021. If voter confidence in the integrity of our elections is a priority to legislators, we suggest they turn their attention to instead focusing on transitioning to risk-limiting audits (conducted by local election officials rather than partisan actors) and improving ballot tracking to decrease rejection rates and increase voter confidence. As always, we stress that policy is important, but it is just as important that it is implemented well and we at the National Vote at Home Institute stand ready to help design and implement these policies and processes and are grateful for the opportunity to contribute our expertise. As always, while policies are important, effective implementation is just as important.

As of 2021....

No Excuse Required

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote by mail

Online Mail Ballot Application

Online Mail Ballot Application

Apply for mail ballot online

Robust Ballot Return Option

Robust Ballot Return Option

U.S. mail, drop boxes, vote centers, and more

Prepaid Postage

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Accepts ballots postmarked by Election Day

Ballot Tracking

Ballot Tracking

Online method to check ballot status

Signature Verification

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Cure Process

Cure Process

Ability to correct issues so ballot can be counted

Preprocessing

Preprocessing

Election official may process ballot before Election Day

Opportunities

With a drastic increase in mail ballots, Arizona has a great opportunity to reach for the gold standard of post-election security by implementing risk limiting audits. Audits must be done by professional, nonpartisan experts like local election officials, and should not be conducted by actors of one party under any circumstances.
We highly recommend implementing vote centers, or polling locations where any voter in the county can vote, in all counties. This is a way to streamline the system so over time, as the share of the vote cast by mail increases, counties can have fewer overall polling locations, while individual voters will have more voting location options.
Ballot tracking software such as Ballot Scout or BallotTrax can be a very cost-effective tool to improve Arizona’s current ballot tracking and increase voter confidence by allowing voters to track their ballot much like an Amazon package. It also adds a layer of data for the elections office who can also track the ballots to make sure they have reached their destination. Furthermore, these tools can be used as another modality to contact voters if there is a signature mismatch or deficiency on their return envelope. An expanded notification system helps keep rejection rates low and increases voter confidence and participation.
Arizona’s current cure deadline of Election Day for missing signatures leaves many voters behind, as it leaves many voters without sufficient time to sign their ballot envelopes before it gets rejected. We recommend making the deadline to cure missing signatures the same as the state’s deadline to cure non-matching signatures, which is 5 business days after election day.

Recent Legislation

As of June 14, 2021

No pro-vote by mail legislation was passed in 2020 in Arizona. In 2021, Arizona actually took a step backwards in terms of voter access by passing a bill to remove more than 140,000 voters from the permanent absentee list. SB 1485 makes the state automatically remove legitimate voters if they don’t vote in four years. Since many voters only vote in presidential elections, this means that if a voter skips one election they will be disenfranchised. SB 1003 allowed voters who forgot to sign their ballot envelopes to cure those issues. SB 2905 banned election officials from proactively sending absentee applications or ballots to voters. The other election-related bills that passed were more technical in nature and did not expand voter access or significantly improve processes.