5 things your poll workers want you to know before you head to the polls this election

Voters have a lot to research before Election Day in Maricopa County on Tuesday when they’ll choose who wins several federal, state and local races.

But poll workers say there is more that voters should know, besides who’s on their ballot, before they head to the polls.

The Arizona Republic attended a poll worker training and learned about the voting process, from start to finish.

Here are five things election workers told the Republic at the training that they want voters to know:

1. Double-check your correct polling place

Some voters are under the impression they can vote anywhere, or that their polling place will always be the same over the years, said Brittney Johnson, training coordinator for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.

That is not the case, Johnson said. Voters are required to vote at their assigned polling place. 

Voters should look up their correct polling place, Johnson said, by putting in their address into a search on the Recorder’s Office website at recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace.

Or, they can cast a ballot at one of 40 vote centers set up across the county on election day. Locations can be found on the Recorder’s Office website at recorder.maricopa.gov/pdf/votecentermap.pdf.

Ballots cast at these extra vote centers will be counted in the same way early ballots are counted.

2. You need ID to cast a ballot

Under state law, Arizonans need to show photo identification with their name, photo and current address to cast a ballot.

If a voter doesn’t have a form of ID with all of this information, they can still vote, they just need to show a little more proof of who they are.

The Recorder’s Office has details on its website about what identification is required.

If they have a new address and haven’t yet updated the information with the Recorder’s Office, they can do so in person on Election Day. The voter should go to the polling place assigned to their new address and bring proof of the new address.

Or, they can update their address with the state before they get to their polling place by following a link on the Recorder Office’s website.

3. Ballots cast at vote centers are counted

Voters are sometimes concerned that provisional ballots or early ballots won’t count, said Joanne Tillson, who trains poll workers and will help solve problems on Election Day.

That’s not the case. The county is required to count every legitimate ballot it receives, which includes all early ballots and provisional ballots. Whether those are counted on Election Day or in the days following, they will eventually be counted, Tillson said.

If a voter is going to fill their ballot out at home and bring it to their assigned polling place to turn in, there are a few things they need to be sure to do.

Always bring the envelope that goes with your specific ballot, Tillson said, and be sure to sign it. The phone number is important in case a board worker needs to verify something about the ballot.

You can cast someone else’s sealed and signed early ballot at the person’s assigned polling place on Election Day, but only under certain circumstances. Under state law, you must be a family member, a roommate, or a caregiver of the other person. 

4. Poll workers will monitor, not ‘hover’

One of the biggest complaints from voters during the primary was that they had “poll workers hovering over them,” Tillson said. 

Tillson instructed poll workers to make sure to monitor the voting process, but to make sure they aren’t getting in voters’ space.

A poll worker should be there to assist voters, Tillson and Johnson said, but shouldn’t be doing anything for them unless they need help.

Johnson also told poll workers not to read voters’ personal information aloud when assisting voters.

5. Expect a little bit of a wait

Voters will face a double-sided ballot with lots of choices Tuesday, said Anita Aguilar, a trainer for the recorder’s office.

For that reason, a line might form, Aguilar said, so voters should be prepared for that.

Poll workers will be tracking the length of lines at polling places every hour using a new application on their voter check-in machine. If there’s a really long line, they’re instructed to tell other election staff, called troubleshooters, who should bring more help or equipment.

Overall, Johnson said, voters should realize that poll workers are temporary workers who are not getting paid much. They are paid either $11 or $11.50 an hour, depending on their role.

“Be nice to these workers,” Johnson said.

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