Yavapai County combats disinformation ahead of midterms with no elections director

Michelle Burchill, who was appointed the new county recorder in June, has taken on most of the elections director responsibilities.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 8:06 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 25, 2022 at 8:37 PM MST
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PRESCOTT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The countdown to Election Day is on, and with two weeks to go Yavapai County doesn’t have an elections director. The longtime former director – Lynn Constabile, stepped down, saying she was tired of just how nasty things had become. Yavapai County tried to fill the position but said few people applied.

Michelle Burchill, appointed the new county recorder in June, has taken on most of those responsibilities. “Our intention is to administer the safest and secure elections we can,” Burchill said. As recorder, Burchill oversees early voting and maintains voter rolls.

With few people applying to the open election director post, the county decided to put hiring on hold and instead focus on getting through the midterms.

When the former recorder and elections director resigned, both cited the threats and mistrust coming from the community. Burchill has tried to address that by bringing people in. “We put a camera in there so people can see what’s happening,” she said.

That includes cameras placed in the rooms where poll workers track the return envelopes and where they verify signatures. Observers can come and watch. “This is our central tabulating area… We have ordered additional windows that are going to be put in, they’re on back order,” she explained.

It’s a big change for Burchill, who admits she had doubts in March 2020 when she came on board, working in the election department. “I had these notions that things were done a certain way because of what I saw on the internet,” Burchill said.

Her view quickly changed when she saw how things were done and how thoughtful the process is. “I just watched everybody working so hard and I said to myself, this really is a thankless job and you have to be here for the right reasons,” said Burchill.