Changes imminent for Arizona elections?

PHOENIX - Changes could be coming the next time Arizona conducts elections, according to Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

Bennett announced Tuesday he may suggest Arizona switch from polling places to voting centers.

"Just because we want to improve doesn't mean the current system is broken," Bennett said.

Bennett tells ABC15 the switch from polling places to voting centers would allow workers to process provisional and early ballots on site versus transporting them to a central location.

"If a significant chunk of ballots can be processed at the voting center, then that's a huge reduction in the amount of work that needs to be done in the week or two thereafter," Bennett said.

"I'm not sure that's the answer to this," said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who doubts voting centers will improve Arizona's electoral process.

Campbell plans to introduce legislation as early as December 3rd to create a bipartisan election reform study committee.

"There are plenty of states across the country that have finished counting their ballots a lot faster than we have in Arizona," Campbell said. "There's got to be something we can do to improve the system here in Arizona."

Campbell criticized the high number of provisional ballots issued and, subsequently, the amount that never got counted.

Bennett said, for one reason or another, 19 percent of all the provisional ballots statewide ended up getting tossed out.

"Anytime you have a high number of provisional (ballots), you're going to have a lot tossed out and, while not intentional, that's a backdoor form of voter suppression," Campbell said.

Overall, Bennett says there were 632,000 ballots that weren't counted on election day.

The 14 days it took to count them, Bennett claims, is actually one less day than it took workers following the last presidential election back in 2008.
 

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