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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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8/11/2008 10:46:00 PM
Ballot woes: Mistakes adding up for early voters
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Anne Solt of Prescott drops off her early ballot Monday morning at the County Administration Building in Prescott.  Early voting in Yavapai County for the Primary Election started on July 31.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Anne Solt of Prescott drops off her early ballot Monday morning at the County Administration Building in Prescott. Early voting in Yavapai County for the Primary Election started on July 31.

PRESCOTT - Voting for the Sept. 2 primary election started July 31. Some early voters and those on the Permanent Early Voting List are making mistakes that delay processing their votes and creating a backlog of work for an already over-burdened elections staff.

County Recorder Ana Wayman-Trujillo and Registrar of Voters Karen McCracken said some of the most common mistakes that early voters make are not signing the affidavit envelope, falsifying ballot signatures, not using black ink on the ballot, having someone other than the voter sign the affidavit, and using white-out to change a vote.

Yavapai County has about 112,000 registered voters.

Early voting directions are very explicit and must be followed, McCracken said. Once voters choose a ballot, they cannot change their mind and request a different ballot.

In order to vote in the primary election, voters must choose a ballot for one of Arizona's three recognized parties - Democrat, Republican or Green.

For instance, voters wanting to vote for an Independent candidate must wait until the general election, McCracken explained.

She said that some early voters have called asking why George Seaman, an Independent candidate for District 1 Supervisor, is not on their primary ballot.

"Seaman is an Independent and whoever wins between the two Republicans in the primary election will be on the ballot against Seaman in the general election," she said.

Candidates in other parties are on the general election ballot.

Voters should mark their ballots with black ink only, Wayman-Trujillo said.

"Not marking pens, not pencil and do not use white-out if you make a mistake," she said.

To compensate for mistakes, voters - whether voting by mail or at the polls - can receive as many as three ballots.

"If you are voting by mail and make a mistake, call the Elections Office immediately so that we can mail you a new ballot," Wayman-Trujillo said.

If a voter is unable to sign the affidavit envelope, another person is authorized to sign for the voter provided the voter completes and signs the upper left section of the affidavit.

"We cannot take someone's word that the voter authorized them to sign the affidavit," Wayman-Trujillo said.

A power of attorney for a person's legal affairs does not transfer to voting - the individual voter still must fill out his or her voting affidavit giving another person the authority to sign the affidavit.

Falsifying a signature is a felony. Elections staff personally compare each signature against voting records. Penalties for forgery include monetary fines and jail time.

"This is a big election year and this is the first time that a lot of voters have ever voted in a primary election," Wayman-Trujillo said. "So we understand and urge the public to call us with their questions."

Voter information - including that for drop-off locations, homebound voters, voters living in an assisted living residence and voters living in a foreign country - is available on the county website at, click on Elections and scroll to Frequently Asked Questions. The Elections Office's telephone number is 928-771-3250.

The drop-off voting box at 1015 Fair St., Prescott, is a drive-through. It is white and is located on the front right corner of the administration building. Voters should drive to the box and deposit ballots from their vehicles.

Contact the reporter at

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2008
Article comment by: Nancy

Carol Springer and Victor Hambrick and thier campaigne person are probably volenteering to help open and count the early voters ballots??? How convienent!

Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2008
Article comment by: Nancy

Right on V. Meyers!! But as usual nothing will happen, Our elected officials are above the law. How convenient that the ballots are right there for Victor to destroy! And donít forget how Carol Springer warned Victor and Elise Townsend about some questionable activities they were involved in. Now we have criminal elements right there at the elections office doing favors for each other. And worse it has been admitted to the courier. The State Attorney needs to get involved! What will the currant assessor do next? He was and still believes he is above the law, but who can blame him, with Carol on his side! Hay Vic, Whatís up in Safford?? Its clear how you worked as our assessor, and full time for Townsend and did a bit of zoning changes on the side for a fee, as well as forgot to change the tax rollís from agricultural to commercial on the land you changed zoning on? How convenient for your friends and business associates! All this while collecting a pay check from us, the tax payers. But wait there is more - If we vote him in again for another term, he might be caught for some of his wrong doing. That would be great publicity for our community, Might make the national news. And then we could really blog!!

Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Article comment by: VMeyers

Courier, you missed the big story here. They couldn't know of these mistakes without opening the ballots - AND THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO OPEN THE BALLOTS UNTIL ELECTION DAY!!!!! Thanks for the public service in trying to tell voters how to fill out the ballot, but it appears that the people at the County Election department in charge of this are HUGELY INCOMPETENT and have violated election law in opening these ballots early. THAT'S the real story here. What is the county going to do about that??????

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Article comment by: Anonymous

Invalidate all mail in ballots since there is already fraud afoot. Voters must be checked at a poll individually all the rest is dangerous to our democracy. Grundo

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Article comment by: Yikes

No wonder we have the politicians we have when people can't even follow directions properly. The state can't make it any easier to vote. Read, people, read. It's as easy as A,B,C.

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