When It Rains, It Pours: Arizona Deals with Hurricane-Soaked Ballots

[Image via americantoolbox]

The weather has once again been a major player this election season, with hurricanes swamping the Carolinas, the Florida Panhandle and large swaths of the Southeast – but severe weather is also affecting voters in Arizona, where the combination of mail ballot delivery and torrential hurricane rain have resulted in soaked, unusable ballots. AZCentral has more:

After an unusual October downpour soaked much of the Valley over the weekend, many Maricopa County voters are dealing with soggy early ballots.

Voters whose ballots got wet in the rain should call the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office at 602-506-1511 to request new mail-in ballots, said Murphy Hebert, a spokeswoman for the office.

“We have been getting calls about it all day,” she said.

Hurricane Sergio’s surge on Arizona on Saturday coincided with the ballot drop for the county’s Nov. 6 election. The Recorder’s Office mailed out the early ballots Wednesday and they take two to six days to deliver, meaning many were out in the elements as the storm hit.

It’s important that voters get new ballots if theirs got wet because the machines that read ballots may have trouble reading ballots that are damaged or have ink that bled, Hebert said.

“Better safe than sorry,” she said.

Voters can also visit a vote center, where all voters can cast a ballot regardless of precinct, and cast a new ballot on the spot. Some vote centers are already open; locations are online at https://recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace.

If voters request new ballots, Hebert said, those voters’ original ballots will be voided.

The deadline to request a new ballot is Oct. 26. That’s the deadline for all voters to request a mail-in ballot, not just the deadline for voters who need a new one.

Fortunately, the damage to the ballots from Sergio pales in comparison to the devastation in the wake of Florence and Michael – but the impact on the election is still significant. Kudos to the affected jurisdictions for moving swiftly to alert and assist voters – who will likely be longing for a return to a dry heat very soon. Stay tuned …

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