County prepares for new voter ID law

KINGMAN ­ The Mohave County Elections Department is gearing up for the implementation of Proposition 200. Passed earlier this fall, the proposition requires ID to be shown at the polls in order to vote.

"It is going to be a very difficult process to administer," said Mohave County Elections Director Allen Tempert, "to educate approximately 91,000 registered voters by the September primary elections. Fortunately, we will be able to implement it on a smaller scale for the Kingman March City Council election."

Although the Kingman election is not until March 14, Tempert said planning for the implementation needed to start now. With the new rules in place, education of both voters and poll workers is key.

Proposition 200 requires either a photo ID, such as a valid Arizona drivers license or a valid Arizona state ID, that bear the name and address of the elector or two forms of identification without a photo that bear the name and address of the elector, such as a utility bill dated within 90 days of the election or valid Arizona vehicle registration.

Acceptable proof of identification does have some give to it.

Although Tempert said they are required to accept anything on the list, they have the discretion to add items to the list that each county finds acceptable.

So far, Tempert said only one Arizona county has implemented the new law. Apache County utilized Proposition 200 at the Nov. 8 election with good success, Tempert said.

Tempert said the success was due to two things: the elections director adequately educating the voting public and the small scale on which it was implemented. The election only involved two precincts, and out of that, only one conditional provisional ballot was issued, meaning the voter did not bring ID.

The other 14 counties will be implementing it sometime between the March elections and the primary in September. Tempert said they will have a slight advantage now that they have seen the trial and error that occurred within the first county.

While the requirement of ID at the polls is in effect, there is leniency for those who have not learned what is needed. Those who bring no ID to the polls will be issued a provisional ballot, however, they are required to bring forward suitable identification within a limited time frame in order for their ballot to be counted.

Those who do bring identification, but it is either invalid, not on the acceptable list or the name and address do not meet those on the signature roster, will also be issued a provisional ballot.

They too will have to go through further verification of the accuracy of the announced identity before the vote will be counted.

Tempert said his department will be having a series of meetings over the next few weeks to determine the best way to implement Proposition 200 and will then get set to inform the public about how the new regulations will be put in place.