REFERENCE TITLE: early ballot processing
State of Arizona
First Regular Session
Senators Quezada: Dalessandro, Mendez, Peshlakai, Rios; Representative Andrade
amending sections 16-550 and 16-621, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to the conduct of elections.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Section 16-550, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
16-550. Receipt of voter's ballot
A. Upon On receipt of the envelope containing the early ballot and the completed affidavit, the county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall compare the signatures thereon with the signature of the elector on his the elector's registration form. If satisfied that the signatures correspond, the recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall hold them unopened in accordance with the rules of the secretary of state.
B. The recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall thereafter safely keep the affidavits and early ballots in his the recorder's or other officer's office until delivered pursuant to section 16‑551 and tallying of ballots shall not begin any earlier than seven days before election day the date the secretary of state confirms that all election equipment passes the logic and accuracy test.
C. The county recorder shall send a list of all voters who were issued early ballots to the election board of the precinct in which the voter is registered.
Sec. 2. Section 16-621, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
16-621. Proceedings at the counting center
A. All proceedings at the counting center shall be under the direction of the board of supervisors or other officer in charge of elections and shall be conducted in accordance with the approved instructions and procedures manual provided for in section 16‑452 under the observation of representatives of each political party and the public. The proceedings at the counting center may also be observed by up to three additional people representing a candidate for nonpartisan office, or representing a political committee in support of or in opposition to a ballot measure, proposition or question. A draw by lot shall determine which three groups or candidates shall have representatives participate in the observation at the counting center. Persons representing a candidate for nonpartisan office or persons or groups representing a political committee in support of or in opposition to a ballot measure, proposition or question, who are interested in participating in the observation, shall notify the officer in charge of elections of their desire to be included in the draw no not later than ten three days before the election posted date for the logic and accuracy test. After the deadline to receive submissions from the interested persons or groups, but prior to seven days before the election first day on which the tabulating begins, the county officer in charge of elections shall draw by lot, from the list of those who expressed interest, three persons or groups and those selected shall be notified and allowed to observe the proceedings at the counting center. If a group is selected they may alter who represents that group for different days of observation but on any given observation day a selected group shall not send more than one observer. A group may rotate an observer throughout the day. No persons except Only those persons who are authorized for the purpose to process or count ballots and ballot materials shall touch any ballot or ballot card or return. All persons who are engaged in processing and counting of the ballots shall be qualified electors, shall be deputized in writing and shall take an oath that they will faithfully perform their assigned duties. There shall be no preferential counting of ballots for the purpose of projecting the outcome of the election. If any ballot, including any ballot received from early voting, is damaged or defective so that it cannot properly be counted by the automatic tabulating equipment, a true duplicate copy shall be made of the damaged ballot in the presence of witnesses and substituted for the damaged ballot. All duplicate ballots shall be clearly labeled "duplicate" and shall bear a serial number which shall be recorded on the damaged or defective ballot.
B. If for any reason it becomes impracticable to count all or a part of the ballots with tabulating equipment, the officer in charge of elections may direct that they be counted manually, following as far as practicable the provisions governing the counting of paper ballots.
C. For any statewide, county or legislative election, the county recorder or officer in charge of elections shall provide for a live video recording of the custody of all ballots while the ballots are present in a tabulation room in the counting center. The live video recording shall include date and time indicators and shall be linked to the secretary of state's website. The secretary of state shall post links to the video coverage for viewing by the public. The county recorder or officer in charge of elections shall record the video coverage of the ballots at the counting center and shall retain those recordings as a public record for at least as long as the challenge period for the general election. If the live video feed is disrupted or disabled, the recorder or officer in charge of elections is not liable for the disruption but shall attempt to reinstate video coverage as soon as is practicable. Any disruption in video coverage shall not affect or prevent the continued tabulation of ballots. This subsection is contingent on legislative appropriation.
D. The county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall maintain records that record the chain of custody for all election equipment and ballots during early voting through the completion of provisional voting tabulation.