Arizona Secretary of State - Ken Bennett

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For Immediate Release
January 4, 2006
For more information, contact Jim Drake at (602) 542-0681

Sec. of State Jan Brewer Announces Major Election Reform Effort

Changes to be Sought to Modernize Recount and Election Contest Laws

PHOENIX – Secretary of State Jan Brewer announced today that she will seek major election reforms this legislative session in the areas of recounts and contested elections.

The reform efforts come as a result of a report by the Secretary of State's Recount and Contested Election Law Advisory Committee. This committee consisting of state, county, and local election experts was appointed by Secretary Brewer earlier this year to perform a comprehensive review of Arizona's recount and contested election laws and procedures as set forth in the Brewer Voting Action Plan.

The committee's report titled, “Improving Arizona's Recount and Election Contest Laws,” recommends several key changes to update and improve Arizona's recount and election contest laws and to take into consideration current and future voting equipment technology. These recommendations include:

  • Moving the Primary Election back four weeks.
  • Providing in law a uniform and secure way to store and handle ballots following an election.
  • Establishing procedures for voting memory card storage and handling.
  • Permitting voters to verify their ballot choices using a paper receipt generated by an electronic vote-tabulating machine before casting an electronic ballot.
  • Prohibit a voter verifiable paper receipt generated by an electronic vote tabulating machine from being used in a recount unless a court determines it would be “impracticable” to conduct the recount in the same manner as the initial tabulation.
  • Requiring logic and accuracy testing of voting equipment prior to automatic recounts.
  • Allowing in law for a recount to be ordered by a court during a contest proceeding if the court determines it is necessary to resolve the matter.

Secretary Brewer noted that, “many of our election laws governing recounts and election contests have been on the books for decades and have not kept up with our current election practices and technology.” The reforms recommended by the committee will “greatly modernize the procedures that we follow during recounts or when issues arise during elections.”

One issue identified by the Committee was the close proximity of the primary and general elections in Arizona. The need to print early ballots coming soon after the primary election canvass has left little time to resolve disputes arising out of the primary election. The Committee recommends that the primary election date be moved four weeks earlier in the election cycle to early August to allow sufficient time to resolve any post-primary election matters.

“These new reforms will go a long way towards ensuring that the procedures followed during close elections will be fair and timely,” said Secretary Brewer. “I want to thank the Committee for its hard work and research over the past several months and I strongly urge our Legislature to act on these important reforms.”

Recount and Contested Election Law Advisory Committee Report Online - Improving Arizona's Recount and Election Contest Laws