PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Maricopa County says they are well prepared to hold mail-in only elections if needed to protect voters and poll workers from coronavirus this November.
Even before the virus hit, the County says they were predicting a historic turnout for these elections. Megan Gilbertson, communications director for the Maricopa County Elections Department, says the County currently has 2.4 million registered voters, the second largest voting base in the country. Of those voters, 73 percent already use mail-in ballots.
All voting locations would be directed to follow strict cleaning and physical distancing guidelines.
The County has prepared for elections being impacted by COVID-19 since March by creating a new and revised plan with social distancing at polling places and extra cleaning measures. Gilbertson said that the County is also well positioned to hold a mail-in only election if it comes to that.
"Maricopa County is actually the second largest voting jurisdiction in the country, we have more than 2.4 million registered voters and we’ve been providing this kind of option for voters for decades now," Gilbertson said, "All eyes are here on Maricopa County on how we perform and election departments across the country are planning for this historic election."
“It is vital we build more flexibility into the law, even if only on a temporary basis,” Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs wrote to Arizona's legislative leaders.
But state law says polling places will still need to be open for people to vote in person in case there is a ballot issue.
"We really believe we need to follow the guidance and structure which allow voters to choose an option, they can chose to vote at home by mail, they can choose to vote early by mail before election day or they can choose to vote on election day," Gilbertson said.
However if voters choose to cast their ballots, Gilbertson says the county is committed to making sure the voting process is safe, secure and accessible.
For more information, voters can go to beballotready.vote for more information.