Our View: A good first step
It was impressive to see the turnout Wednesday at a “task force” meeting set up by Cochise County Administrator Mike Ortega.
Those gathered were part of the effort to tally ballots in the Nov. 6 general election. The group included poll workers, political party representatives and public officials, most of whom related problems they identified at polling places and in the early balloting process.
It became clear early during the 90-minute meeting that the Cochise County Elections Office, and its director Juanita Murray, faced a “perfect storm” leading up to the presidential election.
Consider the contributing factors: A record number of registered voters (more than 80,000), a record number of early ballots mailed out (more than 33,000), a surge of early ballots turned in just a few days before Nov. 6, the death of former Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever which caused a large number of write-in votes, and the re-drawing and reduction of precinct boundaries,which changed where people had to go to to vote.
We all remember what happened as a result of these contributing factors — delaying a final vote tally for nine days and creating an unusual volume of frustration among electors.
The good news is that honest and sincere people gathered Wednesday at Ortega’s call to begin the process of analyzing what went wrong and what can be done to improve the process.
We look forward to those recommendations.
In the meantime, voters should recognize they carry some of the responsibility on a solution to this problem.
Too many people showed up to the wrong polling place on election day, or didn’t return the early ballot they requested, or otherwise caused delays in the tabulating process through their failure to invest the time to prepare for the civic responsibility of voting.
Part of the solution, in addition to improvements and changes that will filter through the efforts of the task force, falls on voters getting educated in the process and participating correctly by either turning in their early ballot after they receive it; or knowing where they are supposed to go on election day to cast their ballots.
Voter education includes the individual responsibility of learning what you are supposed to do on election day.
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