What are the advantages of voting by mail?
Voting by mail has many advantages: it is more cost-effective for your county to administer, offers voters more time to study the ballot and decide how they want to vote and more flexibility in when they cast their ballot. It is also an important alternative to in-person voting during the era of social distancing. You can join the 80%
of Arizona voters who already receive their ballots in the mail to make the process as seamless as possible.
Voting by mail is one way to participate in early voting. The other way is through in-person early voting
. Arizona law allows for early voting in every election, beginning 27 days before election day. This process helps accommodate voters with scheduling conflicts, disabilities, or other circumstances that might make it hard to participate on election day.
The first step is to understand the difference between a one-time early ballot request and the Permanent Early Voting List, so you can decide what works best for you.
One Time Early Ballot Request
Voters can choose to request a ballot by mail for the upcoming election only. Some reasons to do this include if you prefer not to visit the polls due to COVID-19 concerns, if you know you won’t be able to vote on Election Day, or if you prefer to have more time with your ballot to study the candidates and issues.
How to Request a One Time Early Ballot
You can request a one time early ballot for both the primary and general elections in the same request. Just contact your county recorder by phone or email, or visit their website
Permanent Early Voting List
Voters can choose to be placed on the Permanent Early Voting List. This means that the voter does not have to contact their county ahead of every election to request an early ballot. The county will automatically mail the voter an early ballot for every election they are eligible to vote in (See NOTE below for independent voters). A voter can remove themselves from the PEVL list at any time.
How to Sign Up for PEVL
You can sign up for PEVL is on servicearizona.com
and complete a new voter registration form. You will be asked if you want to join PEVL and your existing voter registration record will be updated.
Voters registered as Independent, or not affiliated with a recognized party, have to notify their County Recorder
which ballot they would like to receive in the August 4th Primary Election! You can do this by mailing back the notice you receive in the mail from the county (check your mailbox around 90 days before the election), or you can call or email the county.
Participate In Elections
How do I vote By Mail in Arizona Elections
After you have made your request for a ballot by mail, the County Recorder will mail you your ballot. Ballots are mailed beginning 27 days before the election. Start checking your mailbox for your official early ballot during this time period. Remember, if you are an independent voter, you can vote in the August 4th primary. Don’t forget to contact your County Recorder to let them know which party ballot to mail you.
How to vote an early ballot?
Step 1. Request your early ballot (either one time request or sign up for PEVL).
Step 2. Retrieve your ballot from your mailbox.
Step 3. Vote your ballot.
- You can find voter education tools from Clean Elections to help you learn about the candidates and the issues.
- Be sure to mark your ballot according to the instructions included in your early ballot package and use the appropriate type of pen.
Step 4. Place your voted ballot inside the early ballot affidavit envelope.
Step 5. SIGN the early ballot affidavit envelope. Your ballot will not be counted unless you do this step.
Step 6. Seal your ballot and return it (see below).
Step 7.Verify your ballot was received and counted (see below).
Make Your Vote Count
However you decide to return your early ballot, all ballots must be received by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
How to return an early ballot
You should always plan to mail back your ballot at least 7 days prior to election day, to ensure it is received by the county in time. The United States Post Office recommends 7 days for returning ballots by mail, which is first class mail. Postage is pre-paid so all you have to do is drop your signed and sealed ballot envelope in the mail.
Drop it Off:
If you don’t have enough time to mail your ballot back or prefer to return it in person, you have several options:
- You can drop your ballot off at any in-person early voting locations, including the County Recorder’s Office or Elections Office.
- Some counties have secured ballot drop boxes. You can drop your ballot off in any ballot drop box in your county.
- You can drop your ballot off at any voting location in your county on Election Day. No need to wait in line. Just head straight inside the voting location and drop it in the early ballot bin. You can get an I Voted sticker too!
However you decide to return your ballot, just remember to SIGN IT and that the county RECEIVES it by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
Is Voting by Mail Secure?
The infrastructure of the voting by mail system is already well established in Arizona. Approximately 80% of Arizona voters chose to vote by mail.
It’s important to note that a voter’s identity is confirmed before their ballot is counted, whether it’s an early ballot or a ballot cast at the polls. When you vote by mail, your signature on the early ballot affidavit is compared to the signature on file with your voter registration record. Voters must sign this envelope in order for their ballot to be counted. County election staff receive professional training to verify the signature on the affidavit envelope matches the signature on the voters' registration record. This is done to ensure the integrity of the early voting process.
If the signature is a match, the ballot proceeds to the Citizens Boards who then prepare the unopened ballots for tabulation. The Citizens Boards are made up of two board members of different political party affiliations. They confirm that the County Recorder verified the voter’s signature and then they remove the ballot from the envelope, taking special care to ensure the privacy of the voters' ballot. The ballots are then transmitted to the tabulation room.
If the county is unable to verify the signature, the county will attempt to contact the voter. Voters have until 5:00 p.m. on the 5th business day after the primary or general election to confirm/correct their signature.
How can I confirm my ballot was counted?
Voters can verify their ballot was counted at arizona.vote.
Maricopa County voters can sign up for text and email alerts of their ballot status at: https://recorder.maricopa.gov/subscriptions/
Navajo county voters can track their ballot here: https://navajocountyvotes.ballottrax.net/voter/
The Impact On Voting Due to COVID-19
The coronavirus has greatly impacted how communities are able to conduct many aspects of everyday life, from doing business to providing important services. Voting is crucial to our nation's electoral process and voters have options on how to cast their ballot. If you decide voting by mail is the best choice for you this year, we encourage you to request your mail ballot today!