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Voter registration problems impact more than 2,000 Arizona voters

Vote sign election generic
Posted at 4:33 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 19:50:44-04

PHOENIX — Check your voter registration status, if you have not done so already. A diligent Maricopa County woman wondering why she had not received a ballot in the mail after registering to vote online in May, discovered her name was not even in the system when she did a quick check on the Maricopa County Recorder's website.

This prompted her to take action to try to find out why, as she had proof, including a confirmation email stating her voter registration application had been received.

Nicole Sullivan reached out to ABC15 after she was unable to get any answers from county officials.

"It's concerning. If it was just me, if it was a glitch with me, I could accept that. I know people in these state offices are really busy right now, dealing with a lot of things, but, in my head, there's thousands of voters affected by this and may not even know. Every vote is important,” said Sullivan.

ABC15 reached out to state and county officials to find out how something like this could have happened, only to uncover Sullivan was not alone. A total of 2,174 people in Arizona including 1,343 people from Maricopa county, all of whom have registered to vote sometime in May, may not be in the system.

A spokeswoman from the County Recorder's office sent us this statement explaining how this happened:

"When the new AZ MVDNow portal launched in April, their customers were able to submit an electronic voter registration form without providing a valid Arizona Driver’s License or identification number, which is required to process voter registration applications online.

In June, the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office notified our Voter Registration Division and provided us the information of 1,345 Maricopa County residents who completed the online voter registration application but needed to provide additional documentation before we could process their voter registration. The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office promptly mailed a letter and a paper voter registration form on 6/10/2020 to impacted residents. This letter explained this situation and asked residents to complete their voter registration on the paper form.

We can confirm that Nicole Marie Sullivan was on this list and was mailed a letter with the accompanying voter registration form. Our office has since reached out to this voter and sent her the voter registration form via email. Ms. Sullivan has provided us with the completed paper voter registration form and our team is connecting with her to ensure she can vote in the August Primary election.

If other impacted residents complete a paper registration form, our office will honor their initial voter registration application date. Any resident with questions can contact our office at 602-506-1511."

The Arizona Department of Transportation who runs the AZ MVDNow portal, released the following statement:

"There was not a glitch in the MVD system that impacted voter registration records. The MVD, through the Arizona Department of Transportation, is limited to offering voter registration. A voter's eligibility is determined by election officials.

AZ MVD Now is a new, secure customer account for multiple MVD services that will ask a customer who changes his or her address if they wish to update that information for voter registration purposes. The process for sending customer information to the Secretary of State is exactly the same as the process that has existed for decades through servicearizona.com [servicearizona.com].

In November 2019, MVD wrote the technical requirements for AZ MVD Now with the Secretary of State, which stated that for AZ MVD Now, voter registration will be offered through all address changes. In May 2020, due to complaints from county recorders about the increased work of gathering additional information, the Secretary of State asked that MVD make a change to the agreed-upon requirements and check to see if the customer has a current valid credential. If the customer does not, as was the case with a customer who recently contacted various media outlets, then they asked that we not present the option to update voter information with the Secretary of State. That change was made on May 21.

The system in which MVD sends information to elections authorities for verification is working as intended."

The Secretary of State's office says this is a good opportunity to remind Arizonans to check their registration status. This can be done at Arizona.Vote.

The agency has also provided a link with contact information for election officials in every county.

You can reach the Secretary of State's office by calling 1-877-The-Vote.

Here is a breakdown of the number of affected voter registration applications by county:

County

Affected Applications
Apache12
Cochise29
Coconino79
Gila19
Graham7
Greenlee4
La Paz0
Maricopa1343
Mohave80
Navajo23
Pima302
Pinal152
Santa Cruz0
Yavapai60
Yuma64