Rey Valenzuela on the ins and outs of early voting

Rey Valenzuela, the director of elections, early voting and election services for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office joins us to discuss the ins and outs of early voting.

Early voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 7. The first early voting sites will be open, and ballots will be mailed to voters who have requested them.

Mail-in voting

Registered voters who have requested a ballot, either as a one-time request or who are on the permanent early voting list (PEVL) will receive a ballot in the mail. Allow for 2-4 mailing days after Oct. 7 for ballots to arrive. According to Valenzuela, Arizona has nearly 2 million permanent early voters.

Voters who return their ballots by mail should be returned at least seven days before the election, per USPS guidelines. Valenzuela said ballots should be mailed by Oct. 27. If voters miss that date, they can drop it off at an early voting site.

There is no need to add postage to mail-in ballots. They are already sent business-reply first class mail, so voters don’t have to add extra postage, Valenzuela said. “It is already as fast as it can come back to us.”

Early voting sites

This year, early voting sites have been designed to accommodate social distancing. Sites are opening in phases: seven locations will open Oct. 7 with more opening every week leading up to Election Day. In total, there will be 175 early voting sites across the county, plus 25 drop-off only locations. Mail-in ballots can be dropped off at any of these locations.

Find the early voting site closest to your home or work at locations.maricopa.vote, which also lists hours of operation for each site. Valenzuela said many will be open until 7 p.m. or on the weekends.

Tracking your vote

Valenzuela said ballots that are turned in early are the first ones to be counted and are the first results released after the polls close on Election Day. Ballots are collected from the sites nightly by courier service, and are not opened until the signature on the envelope is verified.

Voters can check the status of their ballot in several ways. If you requested a mail-in ballot, you will see whether it has been mailed. Once you return your ballot, you will see confirmation as it is collected, verified and counted.

Voters can check their status online or by text:

  • Voters anywhere in Arizona can go to my.arizona.vote to check the status of their ballot and voter registration.
  • Maricopa County voters can also go to BeBallotReady.vote to check ballot and registration status and see a sample ballot for your precinct.
  • Maricopa County voters can also sign up for updates on ballot status via text message by texting JOIN to 628683.

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In this segment:

Rey Valenzuela, the director of elections, early voting and election services for the Maricopa County Recorder's Office

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