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Voting access for 2020 election expanded amid COVID-19 pandemic

Monday is the deadline to register to vote In the August 4th primary.

PHOENIX — Monday is the deadline to register to vote in the August 4th primary and the county has implemented a number of ways you can do so, while practicing safety first amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID-19 has obviously changed a lot of the ways that we do things,” said Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

As we continue to see a spike in COVID-19 cases here in Arizona, Fontes says they’re expanding voting access for the August Primary Election, while focusing on the health and safety of voters and poll workers.

“We’re seeing a lot more online voter registrations,” he said.

Voters can vote by mail or in-person from July 8th through August 4th.

The number of voters requesting a ballot in the mail is on the rise, with the percent of voters on the Permanent Early Voting List exceeding three-quarters of all voters for the first time.

“We’re well over 200,000 more voters from the end of the 2016 cycle until now,” said Fontes.

The virus lockdown is also impacting polling places. Maricopa County is now moving to a Vote Center election model, which will provide more access. Fontes says precinct-based polling places are a thing of the past. Now you’ll have up to 60 places you can vote, up to two weeks before election day, including nights and weekends.

“Anyone will be able to vote anywhere,” he said. “We’re going to need less polling places… we’re going to need less workers… so less people are exposed, but at the end of the day, we’re going to expand the amount of time that they’re available,” said Fontes.

And for those who liked voting in person just to get that sticker?

“Now on the voting instructions that come in the mail, you’ll be able to get one of the ‘I voted’ stickers, so that you don’t have to bring it back, you can mail it back,” he said.

The easiest way to register to vote is by going to servicearizona.com.

Paper forms are still available for you to drop off or mail-in to the county recorder’s office. After you have registered, you can expect a voter registration card in the mail within four to six weeks.

“You can vote by mail and in Maricopa, you can sign up by going to BeBallotReady.Vote,” said Fontes.

Aside from today, the next big deadline is October 5th. That’s to vote in the General Election.

In order to register to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Arizona with your county listed on your voter registration and 18 years or older by the day of the next regular general election.

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