Last updated: August 4, 2020
As a predominantly vote-by-mail state, Arizona is better situated than other states to manage elections in a pandemic. Nonetheless, partisan division has hindered additional reforms that could address safety risks at polling places, and election officials have yet to publish details regarding logistics for polling place safety amid a reduced number of polling places. Moreover, ongoing COVID-related election litigation leaves some election rules unresolved. This memo includes suggestions for ways election officials and the state legislature could reduce health risks for voters and poll workers and reduce election-related confusion arising from the pandemic.
Last updated: September 25, 2020
Arizona’s management of the August 4 primary provides encouraging signs that the state is prepared for the November general election. One of the biggest remaining challenges for the state is to ensure that voters and election workers are educated about, and prepared for, possible last-minute rule-changes resulting from pending litigation. Additionally, scale matters when considering the ability to administer an election smoothly, and though both the mail and in-person voting infrastructures seem relatively robust, the greater turnout in the general election will surely put both to the test.
10/7/20 - Accessible Voting: Acting on guidance from the Secretary of State, a judge sided with county officials to allow a limited number of voters living in hospitals or with disabilities to exercise their right to vote via video conference. This was litigated because of their increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Given the unusual circumstances of this election, the judge permitted this change on the basis that Arizona law has always allowed for voters with special circumstances to receive additional assistance.
10/7/20 - Voter Registration Deadline: A federal judge has ordered Arizona to extend its voter registration to October 23rd. The judge ruled that because COVID has limited the ability of voter outreach groups to reach large groups of people, the extended deadline is important to ensuring people have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.