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November Election To Look A Lot Like August's In Maricopa County

Published: Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - 5:59pm
Updated: Thursday, September 3, 2020 - 7:44am

In Maricopa County, the November election will look a lot like the August primary.

Election officials say they’ll again operate universal voting centers, each open to any registered voter in Maricopa County. The vote center model is a departure from the usual precinct-based polling places, in which a voter is assigned a specific polling location to vote in-person.

The voting center model allows the county to host in-person voting, early and on election day, with fewer staff amid the pandemic. It’s unclear exactly how many vote centers the county will open for the general election, but roughly 100 were open by the Aug. 4 primary.

That concerns Dr. Lee Ann Kelley, president of the Maricopa County Medical Society. At an Arizona Capitol Times panel Wednesday morning, Kelley said it may be harder for voters to travel to a voting center.

“They can't walk to many of these locations — it’s just too far. Whereas in your precinct polling places, generally speaking, it's within walking distance of wherever a person lives,” Kelley said.

County Elections Director Scott Jarrett said the county is trying to identify large polling sites near major highways, bus stops and along light rail stations to ensure access via public transit.

The county will also open voting centers well before Election Day — some as early as four weeks prior — and operate those sites on evenings and weekends to give ample opportunities for in-person voting ahead of the election.

Most voters won’t even show up to the polls. County officials estimate 85% to 90% of voters will cast early ballots, and only expect 200,000 to 300,000 in-person voters on election day.

Maricopa County set a new record for voter turnout in the August primary.