Longtime Maricopa County recorder weighs in on the election process
Helen Purcell was the Maricopa County recorder for 28 years.
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Maricopa County is the second largest voting jurisdiction in the country. If anyone knows what it’s like to go through this election process, it’s former county recorder Helen Purcell.
Purcell was the Maricopa County recorder for 28 years. She was elected as a Republican and began her tenure in the 1980s. While some complain the ballot counting for the 2022 election is taking too long, she thinks if Arizona didn’t have any close races, nobody would be watching or paying attention at all. Historically, it takes 10 to 12 days to finish counting the ballots in the county.
While she agrees we’ll never have a perfect election, officials are always looking for ways to improve and prepare for the next. “We all have to be patient,” she said. “Particularly with the early ballots. I would hope that people begin to trust our system a little bit more. That when they get those ballots back in the mail, they have the trust to put them back in the mail and send them in ahead of time.”
Purcell thinks county election officials have done a terrific job so far getting important information out to reporters and the public. “Just keep in mind they are doing the most they can,” she said. “And try to see that we are really where we need to be because we are still keeping security in place, that all of this is done to have security in our elections.”
Being in the recorder position can be nerve-wracking, she said, “But you’ve got a lot of adrenaline going--you see yourself and your team working very hard.” Purcell said she believes technology has been one of the biggest changes in elections over the years. When she began her role, the standard was punch-card ballots. She said she believes we should never sacrifice accuracy for speed.
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