PHOENIX — Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes says he is calling on shopping center owners, professional sports franchises and large institutions to open up their facilities and allow the county to use them as remote voting centers for the state's August primary and the November Presidential election.
"This is literally a call out to our stakeholders and to the public," Fontes said, "we're going to run an election come hell or high water."
On Monday, the County Board of Supervisors agreed to spend $500,000 to purchase machines allowing poll workers to print the right ballot for a voter once they show proof.
The machines are invaluable since the county will be asking voters who do not mail in their ballot, to go to a voting center, not their traditional precinct. There were 150 locations for February's Democratic Presidential Primary.
But Fontes and other county officials worry about the impact COVID-19 will have on elections. There are already signs it will be hard to find enough poll workers and voting locations.
The governor and the Republican majority in the State Legislature have already said universal voting by mail will not happen.
So Fontes wants to supersize the polling locations, to allow long lines of voters to keep safe distances from one another.
"Let us know we'll go out and find out if it's going to be able to accommodate our space. We need large spaces to keep people in a big enough distance to support the election function," Fontes said.
Fontes is counting on community support to get property owners who happen to be sitting on large unused pieces of real estate to step up. Owners who are interested can call 602-506-1511.