Arizona recently held one of the most successful primary midterm races in its history in terms of voter turnout. However, this does not mean that the system is perfect or that there is no work that needs to be done.
The increased wave of new voters means that this is the most important time for the election process to work.
With new groups such as One Arizona, aiming to register 200,000 new voters by the midterms, there are new waves of voters casting their ballots for the first time in a while — or in their lifetime. The state has been a battleground since the 2016 election, as people across the nation are seeing if Arizona will flip from a red state to a blue state.
Even though there has been increases in voter turnout, the voting process in Arizona is still too difficult and inaccessible to many.
ASU voters did not receive an accessible polling location for the general election until the 2016 election, when the Sun Devil Fitness Complex became the first ASU Tempe voting location that was not over a mile away from campus. Additionally, Arizona is one of 22 states that allows for a mail-in ballot.
Although ASU has secured an on-campus voting location, there are still ways that Arizona can improve accessibility and make the election process as efficient as possible.
Following this past primary, 62 voting locations were not able to start distributing ballots on time and left thousands of voters disenfranchised. To make matters worse, the hours were not extended to accommodate for the inconvenience and Arizona is now faced with lawsuits due to voter disenfranchisement.
On Arizona's official general election date, the polls were only open from 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. If voters do not previously cast their ballot or are not able to make the time frame, they miss out on consequential elections. Additionally, if voters do not register on the Permanent Early Voter List by the deadline, they do not receive the early voting option.
This is where Arizona can start improving. The option of the PEVL is great but it is by no means enough.
For ASU students, and other members of the community who have heavy work loads and school schedules, voting may not be the priority.
Considering these circumstances, Arizona should implement a multi-day system that includes weekend voting in order to be more accessible to these new waves of voters. This can better prepare Arizona for the mishaps that have happened on multiple occasions on past election days.
It is evident that Arizona is not well-equipped to accept these vast rounds of voters in one single day, but a multi-day process may be able to ease the weight off Arizona and its constituents.
Professor Rodney Hero from the ASU School of Politics and Global Studies said, "paying attention to politics is difficult for everyone because people are very, very busy with all kind of things including just earning a living and that in general affects everyone."
By extending the voting period, people from all communities can try to find a more attainable time to vote. Hero said that some people may view automatic registration as an ideal voter registration process in Arizona.
Arizona needs to acknowledge its limits and lead the nation in revamping the voter system.
Reach the columnist at email@example.com or follow @JennyGuzmanAZ on Twitter.
Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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