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Election workers process mail ballots at the Pima County Elections Department. © Arizona Public Media

Clean Elections and the Democracy Fund Discuss Arizona’s Ballot by Mail Preparedness

Poignant exchange available online now; deadline to mail in early ballot is Oct. 27

Published on October 21, 2020

Arizona voters benefit from a well-established mail ballot option, but voters still need to keep in mind key deadlines as November 3rd approaches, one of the nation’s leading experts on elections recently told the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

“The pandemic has accelerated requests for mail in ballots and some states are having to adapt quicker than others,” said Tammy Patrick, Senior Advisor, Democracy Fund and Federal Compliance Officer for Maricopa County Elections Department for eleven years. “Arizona is in an advantageous position with its well established permanent early voter list, but voters will need to be mindful of key deadlines as well as aware of their options for returning their ballot.”

The Commission recently interviewed Patrick to provide Arizona voters with an objective assessment of the state’s ballot by mail system. Voting by mail is top of mind in Arizona especially for those voting for the first time. Some may be completely comfortable with sending their ballot through the United States Postal Service (USPS) and others might prefer a different method of return. The conversation was captured on video and has been added to the arsenal of voter information on the CCEC website.

“The contrasting narratives surrounding voting by mail has left some voters with questions about its certainty,” said Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Voter Education Director, Gina Roberts. “It was important to us to address this issue head on and we thought the best way of doing so was to interview a national elections expert with real world experience in Arizona.”

The “Why Ballot by Mail Works in Arizona” video is a lively discussion with Tammy Patrick and is available on the Citizens Clean Elections website now. The wide-ranging, factual discussion covers the evolution of voting in the U.S. and details about how USPS collaborates with elections officials everywhere, including Arizona, to assure successful elections. Voting by mail is secure and a longtime practice in the state because of an established infrastructure capable of managing spikes in early ballot requests and much more, Patrick told the Commission.

Early voting started Oct. 7 and voters on the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) and those who made a one time ballot request should already have their ballot in hand. Voters are encouraged to return it quickly. Oct. 23 is the deadline to request an early/replacement ballot by mail. The last day people can vote early in-person is Oct. 30. The General Election is Nov. 3.

The Democracy Fund is an independent and nonpartisan, private foundation that confronts deep-rooted challenges in American democracy while defending against new threats. Since 2014, they have made grants of more than $150 million in support of those working to strengthen our democracy through the pursuit of a vibrant and diverse public square, free and fair elections, effective and accountable government, and a just and inclusive society.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission was established by Arizona voters to restore citizen participation and confidence in Arizona’s political system, to improve the integrity of State government and to promote freedom of speech under the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions. Visit to learn more. For pressing questions email, call (602) 364- 3477 or (877) 631-8891 toll free. Follow Clean Elections on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

Newsdesk Editor