Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 31, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Early Voting


  • Early balloting for Arizona's primary election begins Thursday, July 31. Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell talks about voting issues, including permanent vote-by-mail list and I.D. requirements.
Guests:
  • Helen Purcell - Maricopa County Recorder
Keywords: elections,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
The election season starts in earnest today. Early voting ballots will be sent out. You can vote by mail without an id, but if you go to the polls on September 2nd, you will need an id. Also did you know there are now four parties on the ballot, but Independent voters can only vote in three of those parties' primaries? Here to sort that out and more on the upcoming primary election and to look forward to the general election, is Helen Purcell, the Maricopa County Recorder. Good to have you back on the program. Nice to see you.

Helen Purcell:
Thank you, it's good to be back.

Ted Simons:
What did I say? Four -- who's not letting you vote, the Independents vote?

Helen Purcell:
Libertarians don't let Independents vote in their primary election.

Ted Simons:
Is that new, is that different?

Helen Purcell:
They have not allowed that for several years. In fact as they went to court in Pima County over that issue, so that's something that's been around for a couple of years.

Ted Simons:
Ok. Early voting begins today for the September 2nd primary election.

Helen Purcell:
That's right.

Ted Simons:
Ok. How many early ballots will be mailed out?

Helen Purcell:
Sending out 490,000 now. We did about 2,700 last week to our military and overseas to make sure that they got their ballots in time to send them back. So about 490,000.

Ted Simons:
How many do you think will be sent back?

Helen Purcell:
Usually there's 80\% of that that will come back to us. Now we may see a higher percentage this time because this is the first time in a regular primary that we have had the permanent early voting list.

Ted Simons:
Talk to us about the permanent early voting list, because that's something I think a lot of people aren't aware of.

Helen Purcell:
That's right. You can sign up to be on a permanent list, 120 days before the election, we will send you a card to make sure that are you still at the same place, do you still want to vote early, and you'll -- have you changed your mind about anything. If you are an Independent you have to tell us which ballot you want in that primary election.

Ted Simons:
Interesting.

Helen Purcell:
So we have about 597,000 people that are currently on the permanent early voting list.

Ted Simons:
And now as far as just overall, the primary election, what are you looking for as far as turnout?

Helen Purcell:
I think we'll have about 40\% in the primary.

Ted Simons:
Pretty good, huh?

Helen Purcell:
Pretty good for a primary, yes.

Ted Simons:
And early voting, this early voting, it always boosts those numbers.

Helen Purcell:
Yes.

Ted Simons:
Doesn't it?

Helen Purcell:
Yes.

Ted Simons:
Ok.

Helen Purcell:
You always have a few more people who, if they can do it, because a lot of our people are retired and they're not here in the summertime. They go someplace else. So if you allow them that privilege to vote early they'll do that.

Ted Simons:
How many people take their early voting ballots and hold on to them for whatever reason and then take them to the polls come election day?

Helen Purcell:
Well, in the last general election we had about 50,000 people who dropped their early ballots off at the polling places. You can drop them off at any polling place, but of course then those don't get counted until after the election. We have to process them after election day and we've got about 10 days to do that. So you're doing the early ballots, you're doing provisional ballots, you've got a number of things that have to be counted, looked at and counted. And that means maybe in some close race you may not know who the winner is.

Ted Simons:
Right.

Helen Purcell:
For a while.

Ted Simons:
We had one of those I think the last cycle. So you'd rather if you're going to be an early voter, be an early voter.

Helen Purcell:
That's right, that's right. But if we have something that's going on in the election, and I think that's what happened a couple of years ago, then people don't maybe know until the last minute who they want to vote for, that's some of it.

Ted Simons:
Yeah, but there was also concern, and correct me if I'm wrong. But I'd heard some concern that because you sign your ballot there, the early ballot, and you put it in the mail, it's got all your information, that maybe id theft would be a concern?

Helen Purcell:
Some people might have a concern of that signature being on the outside of the envelope, and we suggest that they put that envelope in another larger envelope and mail it back to us.

Ted Simons:
Deadline to register for the primary.

Helen Purcell:
Next Monday. August 4th. Midnight. The Secretary of State will be open until midnight. We will be open until midnight out in our Mesa office. There will probably - the parties will probably be open late.

Ted Simons:
Ok. As far as the general election, you've still got some time for that.

Helen Purcell:
Yes, October.

Ted Simons:
How much of a turnout are you expecting for the general election, considering this is a pretty interesting election?

Helen Purcell:
We're looking at 85\%. This is the first time in 52 years that we haven't had either a sitting president or a vice president who's kind of moving up, so we have a completely different scenario than we had in a long time. And the last time we had over 80\% turnout was in 1980. In Maricopa County.

Ted Simons:
Do you got enough workers? You got enough people to man the polls?

Helen Purcell:
Well, we always need people. We're still light people for the primary. We need 7,000 workers on election day. We have 1,142 polling places, we need people in each one of those polling places, a number of those need bilingual workers, so we need to deal with that concern, make sure that we furnish enough bilingual representatives at the polls.

Ted Simons:
For younger folks who are interested in the political process, you can be what? 16, 17 now?

Helen Purcell:
16 and 17-year-olds can now help us at the polls. This will be the second election that we've allowed that. And it's really exciting, our poll workers like it because you've got somebody who's not afraid of the equipment, all the new equipment, they're not afraid of that and they can lift heavy things.

Ted Simons:
There you go, that always helps. For those now who are still not quite sure what they need to take to the polls, what kind of identification is needed?

Helen Purcell:
You need to have photo id with your name and address on it, so that means that the passport that you could use when you register to vote, you cannot use at the polling place because it doesn't have an address. It has your name and picture, but not an address, so you need something like your driver's license is good. Make sure you've updated your address on the driver's license, or if you don't have that, you need two other pieces of identification with your name and address. You can take your voter registration card with you. You can take a utility bill, a bank statement, whatever else might have your name and address.

Ted Simons:
For that kind of information and also for folks who are still, they may not even be sure where the polling place is going to be, those sorts of things, website? Call? What do you got.

Helen Purcell:
Either one, you can go to your website and find out if you are registered, you can find out - put in your address and find out where your polling place is, get a sample ballot for that polling place, so all that's available at www.recorder.maricopa.gov.

Ted Simons:
It sounds like you are going to be very - you probably already are busy, but it's really going to step up isn't it?

Helen Purcell:
Yes, it is.

Ted Simons:
Well, Helen, good luck and thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Helen Purcell:
Thank you.

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