Under the leadership of Dee Hershberger, president, and Pat Rollins, vice president, the North Gila Democratic Women organization unanimously voted to endorse the statewide vote by mail initiative. Fred Taylor, the state director of Your Right Vote, made a one-hour presentation to the entire membership prior to the unanimous vote.
The vote by mail initiative is designed after the Oregon model that has been in effect since 1999, and has proven to be very effective for Oregon voters. Oregon saves more than $3 million per year and voter participation went up threefold. Arizona has two million more citizens than Oregon and could save six million to seven million dollars per year.
The major change is each registered voter automatically receives a ballot in the mail. You have 15 to 18 days to mail your ballot or utilize a drop box that will be located in fire stations, police stations and libraries.
The traditional voter will still have the option of voting at a polling location.
Arizona, has used vote by mail in a limited fashion for over twenty years. However, current trends indicate a move toward total usage. Maricopa and Pima County recorders project that 60 percent of the voters in these counties will utilize vote by mail in the 2006 general elections. They represent 76 percent of the total vote in Arizona. Recently, the Tucson City Council voted to join Phoenix as the two largest cities allowing vote by mail.
Currently, over 35 cities in Arizona utilize vote by mail. All of the cities in Yavapai County are currently using vote by mail. This initiative will be put before the voters in the November 2006 general election and will take effect for the 2008 presidential election.
The initiative has collected well over the 122,000 signatures required by the state.
Readers are encouraged to visit our Web site at www.vbmaz.com.
Fred Taylor, State Director, Your Right To Vote