Maricopa County to double voting locations, citing COVID and misinformation

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Arizona election officials prep for surge in in-person voting during August primary. The state has had mail voting for decades.

BY: JEN FIFIELD/VOTEBEAT

This article was originally published by Votebeat, a nonprofit news organization covering local election administration and voting access.

Election officials in Arizona expect in-person voting to surge during the state’s August primary election, since fears of COVID-19 have somewhat dissipated and concerns over the security of voting by mail have increased.

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and nearly two-thirds of the state’s voters, is more than doubling the number of in-person voting locations for the Aug. 2 primary, opening 215 compared to 99 during the 2020 primary. Pima County, which includes Tucson, the state’s second-largest city, is also planning for more in-person voting.

States that have already held primary elections — such as Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia — saw upticks in in-person voting this year after changing their rules in 2020 to allow for more access to mail ballots.

To be sure, Arizona officials aren’t expecting a massive switch. That’s because the state has for decades allowed no-excuse early and mail voting, and for years the vast majority of voters here have cast ballots early and by mail. For the upcoming election, about 75% of voters in the state are on an early voter list ensuring they will automatically receive a mail ballot.

The county is expecting around 100,000 to 150,000 voters casting in-person ballots on Aug. 2, based on two separate predictive models, compared to about 50,000 on Election Day for the 2020 primary. For the general election, the county is also expecting roughly double the 2020 number. It plans to have 225 locations, up from 175 in November 2020

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