The 2020 General Election may have occurred more than one year ago, but county election officials across Arizona are busy reviewing voter participation data to determine if any of their local voters cast multiple ballots, or were dead before their ballot was mailed in.
That data has been provided by the non-profit, nonpartisan Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office (AZSOS). Arizona is one of 31 member states of ERIC, along with the District of Columbia.
According to AZSOS spokesperson Sophia Solis, member states receive voter participation data from ERIC biannually following a federal election. The data from the November 2020 General Election has now been shared with election officials of Arizona’s 15 counties, who are responsible for looking into potential instances of someone casting a ballot in the name of a deceased voter, someone voting multiple times within Arizona, and persons voting in Arizona as well as another state.
“County Elections officials have been diligently reviewing this data against Arizona’s voter records for the 2020 Election Cycle,” Solis explained last week. “A lot of review goes into each record to determine if it is a potential voting violation or an administrative error.”
The review “serves as another step to ensuring Arizona’s elections are fair and secure,” Solis noted, but the total number of names provided by ERIC “is not a number that we share, since it’s not indicative of anything.”
When asked about ERIC, Cochise County Recorder David Stevens said it is “an invaluable tool” for ensuring cleaner voter rolls, which in turn results in less returned mail, fewer provisional ballots, and shorter lines at voting locations.
However, Stevens believes the system would be much more valuable if the other 19 states also took part, especially California with its 22 million registered voters and New York with its 13 million registered voters.
So what happens if a county election official identifies a potential concern? According to Solis, the AZSOS will “work with them to refer the matter to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.”
Arizona Daily Independent has learned there is at least one such concern awaiting further investigation based on ERIC’s 2020 voter participation data. It involves a voter who appears to have had ballots counted in Arizona and Nevada by having a Nevada absentee ballot mailed to Arizona. The voter then reportedly cast an Arizona ballot, although it is unclear whether it was done in person or via mail.
The decision on whether criminal charges would be filed will likely depend on the voter’s state of citizenship and which state’s ballot was cast first. But the attitude prosecuting agency will also come into play.
Public records from Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office show the state has prosecuted several Arizonans in the last 10 years for double voting within the state or between two states. However, Pima County Attorney Laura Conover recently announced her staff would not file charges in any of the more than 150 reports of double-voting in her county during the 2020 election cycle.
“While PCAO’s investigation documented instances of these voters knowingly submitting more than one ballot, there is little to no evidence that they acted with the awareness that their actions would or could result in multiple votes being counted,” Conover announced.