Bennett supports several bills aimed at election changes

Uncounted_ballot_controversy_79540000_20121108180122_320_240By Joanna Dodder Nellans | The Daily Courier

Secretary of State Ken Bennett supports a measure in the Legislature that he believes could speed up the election ballot counting process.

Senate Bill 1261 allows elections officers to remove people from permanent early voting lists if they don’t use their early ballots in two consecutive elections, and then they don’t respond to an election officer’s letter asking them if they want to remain on the lists.

Bennett said he and county recorders support the bill. It’s sponsored by Sen. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale.

Of approximately 180,000 provisional ballots issued to people who voted on election day last November, approximately 55,000 were issued to people who already signed up to be on permanent early voting lists and received early ballots, Bennett said.

“That was a huge increase from just four years ago,” about double, he said. About two-thirds of Arizona voters have now signed up to be on permanent early voting lists and automatically get their ballots in the mail, he said.

Provisional ballots are used when some kind of issue exists, such as when people already received early ballots or people aren’t on lists of registered voters. County elections officials have to then verify the ballots are valid, and that slows down the ballot counting process.

Bennett also is supporting two other election-related bills sponsored by Reagan, he told The Daily Courier’s editorial board during a visit to his hometown of Prescott this week.


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February 2013