As the Gila County Recorder I believe I need to address comments circulating in the northern part of the county.
As a Certified Election Officer licensed by the Secretary of State, I find it difficult to understand the mentality of individuals who continue to spread rumors and innuendo regarding ballots and unfair treatment of citizens.
A copy of a recent letter to the editor indicated that there were errors in the Pine/Strawberry Water District election and a couple of voters who had been assigned incorrect precinct codes weren't allowed to vote for the Pine/Strawberry Water District Board.
Voters are continuously asked to verify their information prior to any election and review their voter registration cards for inaccuracies. In the case of these two voters, the records were verified and the mistakes were corrected.
As Certified Election Officials, it is our job to enable every eligible citizen to vote. I take great pride in my office and staff both here in Globe, and in Payson.
I have assigned my Chief Deputy to the Payson Office which necessitated her move to Payson. The Payson Recorder office is new and it is there is to serve the public, and assist citizens in whatever capacity we can in accordance with the Arizona State Statutes.
Errors happen, but there is no conspiracy. It is not only our responsibility, but the responsibility of every voter and candidate to educate themselves about this process. All voters should be aware that they may ask for a provisional ballot if they believe they have been assigned to the wrong precinct. The ballot will be counted IF IT IS VERIFIED THAT IT WAS INACCURATELY PRECINCTED.
The last sentence in the letter is what I call misinformation. It read: Let's not have another ‘oops you got the wrong ballot problem,' like we just had with Dan Haapala.
There was NO BALLOT PROBLEM. If you were a Democrat you received a Democrat ballot, and Dan Haapala's name was not there because he was on the Republican ballot. The State of Arizona is a partisan state and Democrats and Republicans vote for their own candidates. Democrats could not vote a Republican ticket, nor could they write-in another party's candidate. Please contact my office by calling 1 (800) 291-4452, ext. 8735 or come into the satellite office in Payson if you have questions about your precinct and/or the process.
Linda Haught Ortega, Gila County Recorder