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Maricopa County election officials make changes to protect your vote

While we continue to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona, Maricopa County election officials are making changes to protect your vote.

PHOENIX — It’s official. Voting has started in Decision 2020, at least for mail-in ballots. August's primary election ballots were sent out to early voters earlier this week.

While we continue to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona, Maricopa County election officials are making changes to protect your vote.

“Elections are that golden thread that keeps the fabric of our society together,” said Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder.

Fontes and other election officials held a virtual community discussion Saturday about the upcoming August Primary.

“We depend on the voters,” said Rey Valenzuela, director of election services and early voting for the Maricopa County Elections Department.

The town hall included a series of commercials encouraging everyone to vote in English and in Spanish.

The focus of the meeting – to let voters know how they plan to keep voting safe and accessible.

“You have the choice to vote in person or to vote by mail and no matter what that choice is, we’re going to do everything we can to provide the safety protocols,” said Megan Gilbertson, communications director.

Poll workers will be wearing masks, face shields and gloves.

“And we have enough PPE on hand to issue the voters gloves and masks,” said Gilbertson.

The team also addressed concerns about the security of mail-in ballots.

“It is a safe, secure and transparent process and that is done through tracking, signature verification, but also your help,” said Valenzuela.

You can check your ballot status by going to BallotStatus.Maricopa.Vote or by texting the word JOIN to 628-683.

“So you know for sure that we got your ballot,” he added.

They’re also prepared for potential surges in vote by mail ballots.

“This team has been managing a large volume of ballots,” said Celia Nabor, assistant director of early voting. “We have restructured the building to allow for space.”

All of these efforts are being made to make sure the vote is safe, secure, and everyone's voice is counted.

If you’re registered to vote, you can still request a mail-in ballot, but keep in mind – the last day to mail back your ballot is July 29th, otherwise you can vote in person on August 4th for the Arizona Primary.

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

For full Decision 2020 coverage, stay with 12 News.

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