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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
2:58 PM Thu, Sept. 20th

Editorial: Fix elections so voting isn't fixed

In the years after the "hanging chads" and the never-ending debate surrounding who exactly elects the president, we have Arizona's version of ballot stuffing.

A coalition of Arizona advocacy groups is defending its practice of dropping off early ballots for voters, according to the Associated Press.

The grassroots organizations are facing an outcry in the wake of surveillance video posted this past week that shows a volunteer hand-delivering numerous ballots to a Maricopa County elections office a day before the Aug. 26 primary. The video has been viewed more than 360,000 times on YouTube.

While the Arizona Advocacy Network says the practice ensures ballots get counted in time, some Republicans have argued it should be illegal to allow any party to collect hundreds of ballots.

Both arguments are valid.

Last year it took days for elections officials to come to a final count, because early voters were delivering their ballots on Election Day. The practice not only defeats the purpose of an "early voting list," it also caused the logjam for tabulating results.

At the same time, controversies have circled polling places concerning influencing voters and people - living or dead - voting multiple times. Seriously. Logic has it that you should be allowed to make your choices without pressure and you should be responsible for your ballot, with the Postal Service being the only entity we can trust to deliver it.

County election officials say there is no law against how a ballot gets to the poll. And, unfortunately, Arizona lawmakers last year repealed proposed legislation that would have banned the practice.

That, however, was to avoid legal challenges as a whole - not to ensure our voting happens in the right way.

The mantra "vote early and often" is a joke. Hopefully our lawmakers can clean up the system so that Arizona ceases to be a punch line.