PHOENIX — Registered voters in roughly 7,300 Gila County households were instructed to go to an incorrect polling place for the May 18 Special Election as part of directions included with state publicity pamphlets mailed to voters last month.
The error, made by a third-party contractor used by the state, impacts 32 percent of all county households that received a special election publicity pamphlet. That equates to about 6,300 registered Gila County voters, excluding those who’ve already requested a mail-in ballot by signing onto the state’s permanent early voting list.
To alleviate confusion, the state is immediately mailing postcards to each registered voter from affected households. These postcards will point voters to the correct polling place for the Special Election and should begin showing up in mailboxes this week. Voters in households mailed an accurate publicity pamphlet will not receive a postcard.
“We truly regret the error, and ask that voters watch their mail in the coming days for one of our brightly colored postcards,” said state Election Director Amy Bjelland.
“If you receive one, it will point you to your correct polling place. If you don’t, you’ll know your publicity pamphlet was accurate and you can attend your polling place as instructed.”
The secretary of state’s office is working to ensure that no taxpayer dollars are used in the mailing of the corrective postcards, a press release said.
The polling place error impacts publicity pamphlets mailed to about 191,000 households statewide, or roughly 10 percent of the 1.9 million pamphlets mailed across Arizona. Twelve of the state’s 15 counties were affected, with Maricopa, Pima and Apache counties spared.
The May 18 Special Election will use consolidated polling places, so there will be fewer places to cast a ballot than in a traditional election. A consolidated election results in significant savings to the taxpayer, but also means some voters will be instructed to cast a ballot at a different polling place than the one they may have used in the 2008 elections.
Voters may locate their polling place for the May 18 election by contacting their county elections office or using the secretary of state’s new Voter View tool: https://voter .azsos.gov/VoterView/PollingPlaceSearch.do
Key upcoming dates
May 7: Last day to request a mail-in ballot.
May 14: Last day that early voting locations will be open.
May 18: Election Day. Early ballots not already mailed in can be dropped off at the county recorder’s office or any polling place.
In preparation for the Special Election, Secretary of State Ken Bennett released the latest figures for statewide voter registration.
Those figures show that registration has continued to slide, dropping by nearly 34,000 voters from the last statewide count in March. Arizona now has 3,066,757 registered voters.
The decline was steepest for the Arizona Democratic Party.
It lost nearly 23,000 registered voters since the March report, and now has 1,001,786 members in Arizona.
Republican Party registration declined by nearly 13,000 voters, to 1,108,791, and Libertarian registration fell by 666, to 24,006.
The Arizona Green Party, newly recognized by the state, reported 4,345 registered voters.