Oct. 22, 2014
For immediate release
Press contact: Robbie Sherwood, 480-246-7944
Civic Engagement Groups respond to viral video of volunteer dropping off ballots
PHOENIX – The One Arizona Coalition, Arizona Advocacy Network and The League of Women Voters released the following statements today regarding a viral video of a volunteer dropping off ballots.
From Sam Wercinski, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network: “It is important to note that the video was taken on Monday, August 25, the day before the primary election. That is three days after election officials recommend mailing early ballots. This young volunteer from Citizens for a Better Arizona was not breaking any laws when he was confronted and harassed by a person in the elections sitting area. The young volunteer, in fact, should be applauded for helping voters get their ballots to elections officials on time rather than mail them after the deadline and arrive too late to be counted. That is what happened to thousands of voters in Maricopa County in the primary election – ballots arrived in the mail but after the election. Voters who give their early ballots to trusted workers and volunteers from respected civic engagement groups have their voices heard on Election Day, unlike the approximately 7,000 plus voters whose early ballots were not counted in the August election primarily because they arrived late. These groups should be congratulated for assisting voters and election officials in getting ballots returned, securely and on-time.”
From Francisco Heredia, executive director of One Arizona: “Our coalition’s volunteers have helped tens of thousands of Arizonans to vote since 2010, many for the first time, with no credible allegations of wrongdoing. This video doesn’t change that. It portrays a volunteer delivering ballots that, if they had been mailed, would not have been counted. The unfounded allegations and scare tactics we are now hearing are inappropriate and appear designed to create media headlines to justify a renewed attempt to pass voter roadblocks like those contained in House Bill 2305.
We appreciate the work of all county recorders in administering the important work of our elections. But we ask that election officials focus their energies on preventing their own mistakes, which could cause eligible voters from casting ballots. In 2012, many voters in Pima County were forced to vote provisional ballots because election officials mistakenly left them off voting rolls at polling places. Most recently, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell admitted sending faulty ballots to at least 600 voters. In previous cycles, her employees have mailed reminders to Spanish-speaking voters with the wrong election date. The handful of documented instances of voter fraud in Arizona – mostly involving ‘snowbird’ retirees trying to vote in two states — is just a fraction of a fraction compared to the number of eligible voters impacted by these clerical errors and lack of voter education by our election officials. Scare tactics only increase the chances of eligible votes being discarded or not cast at all.”
From Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer, President of the League of Women Voters of Arizona: “The League of Women Voters is committed to working for an accessible voter registration and election system that protects all voters against discrimination at the ballot box. The early balloting system in Arizona is an easy and accessible way for voters to vote.
Also, having the ability for organizations to assist voters in getting their completed early ballots to the ballot box is important to encouraging voters to vote. This is not different than any other get-out-the-vote campaign that assists voters getting to polling places on election day. Let’s not be hasty in assuming the delivery of completed ballots is voter fraud. There is a better explanation.”