By Nick Worth
The Navajo County Recorder’s Office is preparing the early ballots for the upcoming Tuesday, Nov. 6, election, according to Chief Deputy Recorder Laura Sanchez.
According to Sanchez, there are 16,355 Navajo County voters on the permanent early voter’s list.
“And that changes daily,” said Sanchez. She noted that as of Oct. 1 there were 452 voters who requested a one-time early ballot for the Nov. 6 election only. County Recorder Laurette Justman said that number would also most likely increase as election time draws nearer.
Justman said those who want to be placed on the permanent early voter’s list, as well as those requesting a one-time early ballot, have until Friday, Oct. 26, to request a ballot by mail.
Once voters have their early ballot, said Justman, there are a number of options open to them. There are seven early voting sites open to the public. The Navajo County Recorder’s Office is one and the others, with their times of operation, include:
* The Kayenta-Navajo County Justice of the Peace Office from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (DST) on Wednesday, Oct. 17.
* The Piñon Chapter House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (DST) on Thursday, Oct. 18.
* The Hopi Tribal Administration Building lobby from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (MST) on Monday, Oct. 22.
* The First Mesa Consolidated Village from 2 to 5 p.m. (MST) on Monday, Oct. 22.
* The Whitecone Chapter House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (DST) on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
* The Whiteriver Social Services Building lobby from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (MST) on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Early voters can cast their ballots during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until Nov. 2 at the recorder’s office in the Navajo County Complex in south Holbrook.
The early ballots can also be mailed in, or put into several secure drop-boxes located at:
* The South County Complex, 550 N. Ninth Place, Show Low.
* The Holbrook Justice Court, 121 W. Buffalo St., Holbrook.
* The Snowflake Justice Court, 145 S. Main St., Snowflake.
* The Mogollon County Complex, 2188 W. Country Club Drive, Overgaard.
* The Winslow County Complex, 619 E. Third St., Winslow.
Justman said the secure drop boxes are brought back to the recorder’s office by teams of two office employees and are then taken to the election warehouse to be counted.
“We also need to remind people that Oct. 9 is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election,” said Justman. She said the deadline is midnight, Oct. 9 and that registration can be done in person at the recorder’s office, or by mail, or by going online at servicearizona.com. There is a link to the site on the Navajo County Re-corder’s Office website at navajocountyaz.gov/recorder.
Registration forms are also available countywide in post offices, libraries, city halls and county buildings.
Justman said it is also important for voters to educate themselves about where to cast their ballots.
“What we see a lot is on election day we get phone calls telling us that voters have shown up at the wrong voting site,” said Justman. “I want to urge voters to get their voting information ahead of time and know where they’re going.”
The recorder’s office website has a wealth of information for voters.
At the navajocountyaz.gov/recorder site, voters can click on the heading “Voter Information” on the menu at the left of the screen. This will open a further menu that includes such choices as early voting ballot requests, a list of early voting sites, important election dates, the permanent early voting list, a search for your polling place, a search for your voter registration information, a voter frequently asked questions (FAQ) section and a link to voter registration that will direct the user to the servicearizona.com site.
Another useful voter tool is a sample ballot that can be marked with the voter’s choices and then printed out on the voter’s home computer. This sample ballot can then be taken to the polling site and used as reference while casting the actual ballot.
Once the early voting period is done, the votes are counted, but the results take a while longer to be made public.
“By statute we cannot release any results until 8 p.m. on Nov. 6,” said Justman. She added that the public can watch the election workers tabulate the votes through an online link on the elections website http://www.navajocountyaz.gov/elections/. Selecting the link on the left side of the screen that reads “Counting Room Live Video” will allow voters to watch the tabulation live.
Justman also said even though all the poll worker positions have been filled, workers are still needed as alternates. The workers have been in training since Sept. 24 and will finish on Oct. 12. If county residents still want to work at the polls as alternates, they can contact the recorder’s office at (928) 524-4191 and have their name put on a list.
With all the information available, Justman and Sanchez said they hope a large number of voters will participate in the upcoming election.
Sanchez said voter turnout in Navajo County was only 29 percent for the recent primary election, but even that low number was an improvement.
“That’s actually above the norm,” she said. “We usually see about 25 or 26 percent voter turnout.”
Sanchez added that of the permanent early voters, usually about 50 percent return their ballots.
“I want to urge all voters to exercise their right to vote,” said Justman. “I’m asking them to get out and vote in the November election.”
By Nick Worth