By Wrangler News Staff
District I supervisor Jack Sellers, a former Chandler councilmember, may be a relative newcomer to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, but there’s nothing new about his advocacy for the rights of voters.
The board, of which Sellers has been a member since replacing Denny Barney in February, took action on June 26 to enhance the way county elections are run in the nation’s fastest-growing county.
The board approved the final, amended recommendations of a countywide election work group, following high-level, bipartisan conversations over the past several months.
The vote signals a unified effort between the Board, the Recorder, the Elections Department and executive county leadership to help ensure integrity of voting in the 2020 elections and beyond.
“Our ability to vote needs to be non-partisan; it’s a right and responsibility for all of us,” said Sellers.
“I’ve been impressed with the efforts of all the parties involved to find consensus in moving us forward with technology and a structure, focused on the voter, to ensure that our elections are efficient, transparent and fair.”
The Board’s unanimous action means:
- Better vote tabulation: Maricopa County will acquire new vote tabulation machines that protect the integrity and security of each ballot while also counting ballots more quickly.
- Additional elections staff: The county is in the process of completing an independent, staffing analysis to determine additional Elections Department personnel required to support a successful election season.
- New executive structure: The Elections Director position will become two director-level positions so both the Recorder and the Board will have a “point person” inside the Elections Department. One director will have oversight of the assigned statutory responsibilities of the Recorder. The other will have oversight of the assigned statutory responsibilities of the Board.
In January, the Board of Supervisors directed the county manager to form a work group made up of Recorder’s Office leadership and county administrative leadership to look at countywide election processes and other recommendations regarding three specific areas: staffing, technology and organizational structure.
The 10-member work group focused on how to improve outcomes for voters while maintaining the efficiencies of the current system. They also were mindful of how any recommended changes would impact the 2020 elections calendar. You can read the group’s final list of recommendations on the county’s 2019 Elections Review Project website.
In Arizona, counties run most elections, including elections for national offices such as President and Congress. State law divides responsibilities between each county’s Recorder, Board of Supervisors, and to a lesser extent, Clerk of the Board.