Feathered Bastard

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Approves 2012 Election Canvass

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell and Elections Director Karen Osborne presented the official 2012 canvass to the Board of Supervisors today, and the BOS approved it after a discussion of the controversy over the late vote count.

Overall, turnout was slightly down this year compared with 2008, with 76.51 percent of registered county voters participating in the 2012 general election versus 79.76 percent in 2008.

See also: -Joe Arpaio Still Won, Arizona Vote Count Over -Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Ann Wallack Not Running for Re-Election

One reason for our two week vote count (about the same as 2008, BTW): The popularity of early ballots continues to grow, with earlies accounting for 69 percent of all county votes cast in 2012.

Compare that to 2008, when earlies accounted for 55 percent of all votes cast.

There was a larger number of provisionals cast in this election, 122,524 in total, a 22.7 percent increase over the number of provisionals cast in 2008.

Of the 2012 total, 22,840 provisionals were not counted because they did not past muster, for a variety of reasons, such as being cast in the wrong precinct. That's an 18.6 spoilage rate.

Which is down from 2008, according to an ACLU report on provisional ballots I've cited previously.

In 2008, almost 30 percent of all provisionals cast were not counted. Many were tossed because of an Arizona law requiring all provisionals to be cast in the correct precinct.

Interestingly, according to the ACLU report, 7.23 percent of all county ballots cast were cast provisionally in 2008.

By my calculation, 8.8 percent of all ballots cast in 2012 were cast provisionally.

So, yes, there were more provisional ballots cast in this election, but as a percentage of total votes cast, it's not that large of an increase.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons