Dialogue with the County Recorder


Letter sent to County Recorder on June 15 & Responses


Letter sent to County Recorder on June 15th


Dear Mary and Leticia,

We have looked over the information you have sent us and have a few requests:

There needs to be more early vote center locations. It's wonderful that Ability 360 will be available, but there needs to be more. Are you already planning on having any others? I believe there were 19 in 2014. How many will there be for the August election and where will they be? It was not clear from what you sent us.


Here are some locations we think would be ideal early voting locations:

  • Gammage Auditorium at ASU: Students face a number of hurdles when it comes to voting and having an easily accessible location that is available for early voting would help eliminate some of these hurdles. It is also in an ideal location for Tempe voters)
  • The Church of the Beatitudes, where the lines were the longest on March 22nd.
  • Public Libraries
  • A location at each of the Maricopa Community Colleges


We would also like to see the 60 locations that were vote centers for the March 22nd election remain vote centers. While we know that vote centers are expensive, we think that 60 is reasonable and absolutely worth it. This would give voters more options and easier accessibility to voting.


What are you doing to make voting more easily accessible in tribal communities? The new law banning ballot collection is devastating for these communities. There need to be election officials collecting ballots in rural tribal communities, since volunteers can no longer do this. Official legal ballot collecting needs to be done over several weeks before the election in rural communities. As you can see in the maps below, there are many voters who do not have reasonable access to voting, especially in the tribal areas:

Map Here


There should also be early voting locations in every area where a voter has to travel more than 5 miles to vote (pink or red areas in above map).


We are concerned about the number of translators at polling places, but don't feel we have enough information to recommend where there need to be more translators. We think that there should be an evaluation system in place for every polling location, so after the Aug 30th election we can see what problems each polling location (or vote center) had and make better recommendations. Do you have an evaluation system ready for August 30th? This is something we can assist with if you do not.


We look forward to your response and are happy to set up a meeting to discuss these suggestions further.


Best wishes,

Sam Pstross and the Arizona Commission for Election Accountability


Response from Mary Fontes from the Maricopa County Elections Office on June 22nd 


 Good afternoon, Sam.


Thank you for your input.  As discussed in the June 1 meeting, we will have more early voting sites than just the Ability 360 Center.   That is a new pilot site that we are really looking forward to using.  I had mentioned the City and Town Clerk offices and that we want to make sure they have something on the ballot.  Or, if a Clerk is a Certified Election Officer through the Secretary of State’s Office, their office may act as an early voting site.  These requirements are, in part, due to House Bill 2023 and who can collect early ballots.  We will have approximately 20 early voting locations that will include early voting sites at ASU and the South Mountain Community Center along with Ability 360. Our early voting sites will be posted to the following page on Maricopa’s website:  http://recorder.maricopa.gov/elections/evlocations.aspx once we have finalized them.


Although we appreciate that you would want us to use vote centers for the Primary and General elections, this is not a possibility with our current voting equipment.  The Presidential Preference Election was for three parties and only one race, very few ballot styles.  The May 17 Special Election there were no parties and only one race therefore only one ballot style.  For the Primary election we have over 6,500 different ballot styles which our voting equipment is not equipped to handle as a vote center.  Therefore we are unable to use vote centers for either the Primary or General elections.  Of the 60 vote centers used in the Presidential Preference Election, all but 4 are regular polling places for the Primary and General elections.


We have maintained polling locations on our tribal lands and do not deviate or remove the polling places.  For precincts on the Tohono O’odham lands we offer the oral translation of the ballot on the touch screen voting machines. Here are our precincts on tribal lands with the number of voters on PEVL: 


Only 1,813 voters in these precincts are on PEVL which should alleviate your concerns about harvesting.


Mary C. Fontes
Federal Compliance Officer
Maricopa County Elections 



Response from Mary Fontes from the Maricopa County Elections Office on June 23rd



Here are my responses to the remainder of your concerns.

  1. We are in the process of reviewing our Bilingual Boardworker formula. We will send it out again once it is complete.
  2. There will be one secure early ballot box in the Early Voting site at ASU.
  3. Student Poll worker recruitment ended for the Primary, however if the students you are working with are over 18 there is still time to sign up as a regular poll worker. Here is the link to our webpage on board workers: http://recorder.maricopa.gov/elections/electionboardworker.aspx
  4. We have Special Election Boards that do go to homes of persons with disabilities and we go to nursing homes by request. They may call the Star Center at 602.506.1511.


Have a wonderful day!

Mary C. Fontes
Federal Compliance Officer
Maricopa County Elections