For the primary election in 2020, the largest turnout by age of residents was the 55-64 range for both the days of primary and general election, data that was recorded at just one of the 17 voting center locations in the county. The lowest turnout for in-person voting for the primary election was the youngest age group of eligible voters, 18-24 years old. However, during the day of the general election, the youngest generation of voters outpaced the age group of 75 and up. On average, most voters showed up at 9 a.m. for poll turnout for the primary.
Cochise County of Elections has stated the challenges being faced in 2020 and now are the deliberate spread of misinformation regarding voting by mail. Director of Elections Lisa M. Marra said this is a concern as it continues to undermine voter confidence. She said there’s been a long history of voting by mail for the last 30 years with large success and fair elections in the state of Arizona, especially in Cochise County.
“Each state has very different election laws and some don’t even allow early voting,” Marra said. ”Same issue regarding ballot security. There were not fake ballots inserted into the system. The voter database is only able to accept one ballot from a voter. One. If more than one was received, it would be rejected. Simply no way to put it into the system. There are so many checks and balances along the way during the entire process.”
Marra said if there are questions about the procedures of the election process, people should take the time to reach out to trusted sources like election officials, recorders and the secretary of state as opposed to believing the information that is on social media.
That’s why she encourages citizens to become poll workers and actively learn about the election process while gaining insight about factors they may have been aware of. Marra said she could not do this job if she did not believe 100% in the system, laws and the process.
“I’m confident in this county for sure, and actually across the state,” she said.
Marra said Cochise County is largely rural and old with a vast amount of older-style buildings compared to other areas in Arizona. Despite not having newer facilities like one could find in Maricopa or Pima counties, Cochise County has been fortunate that its 17 community voting facilities provide residents with access to amenities such as good internet connection, larger ADA accessible facilities with restroom and kitchen access and electrical outlets. She said it has been difficult to find places in the county to suit those needs.
Marra said a person’s vote matters despite everything else, including the party, candidate race, or whom they voted for. The job of election officials is to allow the voter to vote in the manner that works for them and count the votes of eligible voters safely, fairly and accurately.
“We have a huge legal responsibility, but an even greater moral and ethical responsibility,” Marra said. “And voters have responsibility, too, so it definitely takes a team.”
She stressed the importance of examining the entire ballot beyond just voting for president or the Senate, especially during midterms when voting numbers decrease on average.
“It’s just as important or more to vote for the city council or the school districts, county officers,” she said. “Those are places that touch your everyday life far more than anything in Congress.”
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