Maricopa County officials update election services agreement

Now each department has their own staff members in charge of distributing election information, this change comes from lessons learned from the 2022 elections.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 10:16 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As the City of Tempe and the town of Carefree wrap up special elections behind the scenes, there are some new changes in place to the county’s election infrastructure. The changes are designed to improve operations in these elections and future ones.

Previously, the Recorder’s Office and the County Board of Supervisors shared a communications office. Now, each department has its own staff members in charge of distributing election information. This comes from some of the lessons learned from the 2022 elections (and before). The idea is to ensure that each office’s roles are crystal clear. “We don’t have to always be going back and saying, who’s responsible for that?” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said.

When Richer brought up some suggestions for the shared services agreement with the Board of Supervisors at the beginning of this year, he wanted it to be easier to communicate between the two groups and with voters. “More of our voters understand who is responsible for what, and they can more communicate directly with those elected bodies,” Richer said.

Under the previous agreement, Richer says the two offices agreed on communications responsibilities but weren’t always sure who should respond to the media and public questions.

Richer and County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman say that created some confusion during the 2022 elections. “We’re being looked at in this space year-round, where we didn’t used to be before,” Hickman said. “We want to make sure that we bring total effort.”

The updated agreement provides new information about who is in charge of operations, including provisional ballots, ballot drop boxes, and election center tours. And while the roles for each department largely remain the same: the Board of Supervisors is responsible for determining polling locations and tallying election results, among other things, while the Recorder’s office is responsible for all things voter registration, Hickman says the hope is that this new agreement will mean smoother elections now and in 2024.

“This helps us determine where we are going to spend tax-payer money to bring forth a great election,” Hickman said. “That’s been helpful, and it’s happening right now.”

One area that the Recorder’s Office and the Board of Supervisors will continue to work together on is election security. “That’s extremely important to all six of us,” Hickman said. “We’re sharing the IT department, we’ll continue to bolster the safety and security of our elections equipment, the people, the processes, and the procedures.” “I’m glad it’s in place, glad it’s done, glad we have the continued partnership,” Richer added. “Let’s rock and roll.”

The Board of Supervisors voted five to nothing in favor of the proposed changes to the agreement, which went into effect last Wednesday.