County will learn from others on Prop. 200

PHOENIX ­ Secretary of State Jan Brewer expressed approval when news reached her Aug. 17 that Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and Gov. Janet Napolitano had approved the latest version of Proposition 200 requiring identification at the polls in order to vote.

It was crafted by Brewer's office and has only to gain Department of Justice approval to be implemented this year.

"The people of Arizona supported showing an identification at the polls prior to receiving a ballot," Brewer said. "After several months of needless delay, I delivered on my commitment to finally get implemented what the voters called for."

Requirements of Proposition 200 include: "Voters who produce no ID will not be provided a ballot and will be instructed to return with appropriate ID; voters whose name or address on the ID do not correspond to the information contained in the polling place roster will be provided with a provisional ballot, which will be verified by the county recorder before being counted; voters who are in their correct polling place but whose names do not appear on the poling place roster will be provided a provisional ballot, provided they first produce the proper ID; substantial publicity to educate voters on the new identification requirement will be undertaken by the state and county election departments," according to the secretary of state.

Approval of this final requirement in Proposition 200 by Goddard and Napolitano provides contrast to their earlier objection in April. According to a release from Brewer's office, Napolitano refused to sign the ID requirement because it did not, "allow any person to cast a provisional ballot, regardless of whether they have identification with them ..."

"It is now incumbent on all election officials, upon final preclearance by DOJ, to take every step possible to inform Arizona voters of this new requirement prior to the upcoming elections," Brewer said.

"I am pleased that the will of the voters is finally going to be implemented, and I look forward to working with the counties on properly educating poll workers and the voters as well."

Mohave County Director of Elections Allen Tempert said Friday that there will be two distinct challenges that both he and the county election officials will face with the passing of Proposition 200.

"Our challenge, as with any jurisdiction, is that we have to inform all voters in Mohave County to make them aware of all these procedures and requirements," Tempert said.

He said that he believes Mohave County is fortunate that the first time this proposition will be implemented in this county is for the March 2006 elections.

This, he said, will allow county election workers to learn from other districts that will be implementing the proposition in the November elections.

"This will be implemented in other jurisdictions across the state, and procedures will be ironed out by the time we need to use it," Tempert said.

"It will also let us know how best to inform the public of the changes and where is best to target the information to."

Tempert currently has no specific plan, but he said that he plans to make every effort possible to educate the voters of the changes in procedures. He will also be requesting the help of the county, the cities, the jurisdictions, the districts and anyone else he can think of for help in spreading the word.

The second challenge the county will be facing, according to Tempert, is to get all of the poll workers to understand how to administer the changes.

He plans to hold a comprehensive training program for poll workers to educate them on the new voting procedures.

"I expect the first election to be controversial, with people claiming that their right to vote has been infringed upon, but after that, I expect things to be a lot smoother. This can be accomplished through proper voter education," Tempert said. "This is such a complicated matter that it took the state 10 months to work out their plan. It will not be understood and ironed out overnight."