Tucson Independent voters in danger of being left out of Primary

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The first city election in Tucson history conducted completely by mail ballot is just a few days away.  And until Wednesday afternoon, erroneous information on the city clerk's website threatened to leave thousands of voters without a voice.

For almost 24 hours the city stayed tight lipped and dodged questions about misinformation on the city clerk's website.

"What they're saying on the website just isn't true. You're not going to get a ballot mailed to you if you're an independent," said Tucson city Councilman Steve Kozachik.

A city PSA also incorrectly stated, "All registered voters will automatically receive a ballot in the mail."

It's not true.  Voters registered Independent have to request a ballot.  Otherwise, they won't get one.

"Get beyond the defensive posture and just correct the information on the website.  That's pretty simple," said Kozachik.

After repeated attempts to get answers from the man running the election, City Clerk Roger Randolph, Wednesday the city finally talked.

"It wasn't clear that the Independent voters needed to request a ballot.  So, yes we did make a mistake in that," said city spokesman Michael Graham.

That mistake has since been corrected.

The city says it mailed Independent voters a postcard on May 16 warning them they'd have to pick a party to vote in the primary.

"Many of the people perhaps could have just taken that postcard and chucked it," said Kozachik.

That's why Kozachik says the website was so important.  But that whole time, the website was wrong.

"It could be more artfully worded," said Jeff Rogers.

Pima County Democratic Chair Jeff Rogers says despite the website flub, more Independents are turning out.

In 2009, a total of 1,027 independents cast their votes in a primary.  This year, already 2,641 have voted out of 8,619 that requested ballots.

The city has just over 66,000 registered Independents.

"That leaves 61,000 voters sitting out there and they might be sitting at home, based on the information on the city web site, waiting for the ballot to arrive in the mail.  It's not coming," said Kozachik.

With just a few days to go before the election it's too late to request a ballot and return it by mail, but it's not too late have your vote counted.

Voters can still pick up a ballot at the Tucson City Clerk Elections Center at 800 E. 12th St. 

Voters can also vote or drop-off a mail-in ballot at one of seven location on election day, August 30.  Click here for locations and information.

Independent voters who would like to vote in the primary and have not already requested a ballot are encouraged to call 884-VOTE for more information about options.