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Controversial Vote Centers Back in Business For 2022 Midterms in Maricopa County

June 6, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Maricopa County will operate 212 vote centers for the August 2022 primary — double what they had in 2020. By the general election, that number will increase up to 225; 14 of which were converted from outside drop boxes into full vote centers. The county promised to mail voters information about the closest vote centers. 

The catch-all, “vote anywhere” system allowing voters to cast ballots at any location rather than a designated precinct has sparked controversy, with critics alleging that it makes fraud easier; namely, ballot harvesting. Voters may drop off their early ballots at vote centers.

Legislators made an attempt to prohibit vote centers. One such bill from State Senator Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff), SB1338, would’ve reinstated precinct voting as well as paper ballots and hand counting. It advanced out of one committee in the senate, but no further. 

Another bill, HB2238 from State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), sought to eliminate emergency vote centers. It failed in the Senate. 

The county adopted vote centers amid the pandemic in 2020. They also released an informational video featuring their $10,000 “Phil the Ballot” mascot.

Pima County decided to follow in Maricopa County’s footsteps this year. They will halve their operations from nearly 280 voting precinct locations to 129 vote centers. 

Democracy Docket, the brainchild of Hillary Clinton’s Russiagate hoax lawyer Marc Elias, congratulated Pima County for adopting vote centers.

Arizona allowed vote centers to be used rather than precincts beginning in 2011. 

With less than a month to go before ballots hit mailboxes, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer issued an announcement on Thursday about their increased number of vote centers.

Republican National Committee (RNC) leader Tyler Bowyer criticized the county’s decision.

Prior to 2020, contentions with vote centers concerned the fact that there were less of them than there were polling places. Some voter rights watchdog organizations expressed concern that the reduced number of voting sites would pack an adverse, disproportionate impact on minority and low-income voters.

Mailed ballots will be sent out on July 6. A complete list of all vote center locations will be made available on the Maricopa County website approximately 45 days before the election according to the county’s election plan — at some point later this month.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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