Arizona has more mail-in ballots to count this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With the state's experience and partners, voters can rely on faster results and secure counting.
Arizona has used mail-in ballots for 30 years and has created a reliable and successful system.
Maricopa County Elections Department is partnered with Runbeck Election Services, Inc. to help with mail-in ballots. Runbeck Election Services, Inc. provides products and services for states to provide better election solutions. Every year, the Maricopa County Elections Department uses the company's technology to print ballots for elections.
According to Jeff Ellington, the company's president and chief operating officer, the machines can print about 20,000 ballots per hour. The company sends out the mail-in ballots to the voters.
According to Data Orbital, 3.4 million ballots were requested by Arizona voters this year. So how does Arizona know all the ballots can be counted in enough time and correctly?
The Runbeck Election Services' technology processes and sorts early ballots.
"Each machine sorts 50,000 mail-in ballots per hour," Ellington said.
The machines take a picture of the ballot's envelope and its signature. According to Ellington, the machine checks the thickness of the envelope to confirm only one ballot is inside. Depending on the destination the ballots go to, the machines will sort them to either a precinct or legislative district. Runbeck Election Services does not count the ballots' votes. Arizona's election systems take care of tallying the votes. Maricopa County Election systems tabulate the ballots' votes. The systems stay secure by never connecting to the internet or office networks.
The marketing assistant for Runbeck Election Services, Tiffany Ellington, said that the machines are checked months and days before any election to ensure they work.
When asked if there are any issues with the machines during the 2020 general election, Ellington said everything is running correctly and smoothly.
Arizona has a contingency plan set in place if something happens on or near election day. There are back-up plans to ensure that eligible voters can still cast a ballot and that ballots can still be counted.
After the votes are counted and reported for election results, Arizona does post-election hand-count audits. County election officials perform a random audit on selected races to validate results after an election.
Securing the ballot-by-mail process is taken seriously.
Arizona counties utilize tamper-evident envelopes for mailed ballots. Voters can verify whether their mail-in ballots have been sent to them and if the county has accepted the ballots.
There are criminal penalties for ballot tampering, vote-buying or discarding someone else's ballot. According to a tweet from Arizona's Attorney General Mark Brnovich, there was tampered evidence found in Glendale on election day. They are still investigating the situation.
Even though negative comments have spread about the security and success of vote by mail, Gov. Ducey believes in Arizona's system. According to AZ Central, Gov. Ducey explained to President Trump that it is impossible to cheat with Arizona's mail-in voting in August.
Arizona's mail-in ballot system is improving and uses reliable products to ensure the peoples' votes. Even though the pandemic makes the general election more difficult, Arizona is counting every voters' ballot.
If you're an Arizona voter, you can help settle elections concerns by...
- Verifying the accuracy of your voter registration records and make any necessary updates.
- Understanding your voting rights and continue to vote.
- Using trusted sources about election information.
- Knowing relevant laws and important dates about mail-in ballots.
- Looking to trusted sources of information for reliable news about elections.