Up to 63,000 Pinal County voters sent in wrong early ballots

The error affects more than half of all advance ballots mailed out. The county says the cause was “human error.”

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. — If you’re a registered early voter in Pinal County, chances are the ballot mailed to you last week is wrong.

According to county spokesman James Daniels, up to 63,000 advance ballots — more than half of all mail-in ballots — list bad municipal elections for the voter’s jurisdiction or they municipal races are completely missing.

Ballot elections for federal, state, legislative, and county offices are unaffected.

The county blames “human errors” for the mistakes.

“We have worked hand-in-hand with the Secretary of State’s office since these errors were identified, and we are very grateful for their continued support,” Daniels said via email Saturday.

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A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told 12 News that Pinal County alerted her office to errors on the municipal portion of the ballots Thursday night.

“The Secretary of State’s office is not involved in creating a county or verifying ballots for local contests,” Hobbs spokeswoman Sophia Solis said.

“We want to ensure that all eligible voters have an accurate and secure voting experience this election cycle, and we will continue to support Pinal County to make that happen.”

Apache Junction Mayor Chip Wilson told the Arizona Republic, “It’s not just a little screwed up – it’s a big part of it screwed up.”

Tiffany Shedd, a resident of Eloy and a Republican candidate for attorney general, told 12 News she knew something was wrong from the beginning of June.

His family’s new voter ID cards listed the address of their Eloy farm as Casa Grande.

“We were concerned that we were in the wrong constituency because it changed our physical location,” she said by text message on Saturday. “We never had a Casa Grande address.”

When their first ballots arrived, the Casa Grande mayoral election was on the agenda, even though the Shedds do not live in Casa Grande.

Shedd said her husband and children notified the county clerk’s office of the address issue in early June, but nothing was done.

“I had no idea it would be so serious, but I don’t understand why it didn’t raise a flag or why they were so stubborn to correct (the address),” Shedd said.

“We really thought it was a simple mistake and they would fix it… They told us it was the software and it wouldn’t allow them to fix the address.”

Shedd provided a copy of the election complaint she filed June 29 with the Arizona Attorney General’s office.

Two distinct groups of Pinal County voters are affected. Here’s what they need to know:

  • 46,000 voters who live within the city or town limits of these seven municipalities are affected: Apache Junction (part of Pinal County), Casa Grande, Eloy, Maricopa, Mammoth, Queen Creek (part of Pinal County) and Superior.
  • The town and city contests in the seven municipalities are now elections by postal ballot.

Each registered voter will receive an additional ballot for the local elections. The ballot must be returned by mail or via a drop box. Voters cannot vote in person for these local races.

  • Voters in the seven municipalities can still use the original ballot for federal, state, legislative and county contests.
  • In-person voters on Election Day can only vote for federal, state, legislative, and county contests.

Daniels said it will be a few days before the county knows the cost of sending replacement ballots to the first 46,000 voters in the seven municipalities, as well as any registered voters in those localities who don’t. did not request an early vote.

  • There were also 17,000 voters outside town and city limits, such as the Shedds, who mistakenly received town and city contests on their ballots.
  • Voters in these areas will not receive new ballots. They can complete federal, state, legislative and county contests on their ballots. Votes cast in municipal and municipal elections will not be counted.

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Steven L. Nielsen