OFFICE OF: rown Clerk
May 9, 2008
6401 EAST LINCOLN DRIVE
TOWN OF PARADISE VALLEY, ARIZONA 85253- 4399
OFFICE OF Hit i" Kt:)\ DENT
fHOHE: ( 480) 948- 7411
FAX: ( 480) 951- 3715
TDD: ( 480) 483- 1811
The Honorable Timothy S. Bee
President ofthe Senate
1700 W. Washington, Senate Wing
Phoenix, AZ 85007
The Honorable Jim Weiers
Speaker ofthe House ofRepresentatives
1700 W. Washington, House Wing
Phoenix, AZ 85007
SUBJEct: Mai~ Ballot Election Report to the Arizona State Legislature pursuant to
A. R. S 16- 409( B)
It is a pleasure to report that the Town of Paradise Valley conducted another successful
election utilizing the " all- mail ballot" voting procedure. The Paradise Valley Town Council
adopted Resolution Number 1060 authorizing the Town Clerk to conduct " all- mail ballot"
elections in the Town of Paradise Valley in accordance with the provisions of A. R. S. § 16409(
A) for all future elections, unless specifically designated otherwise by the Town
Council. The Town received pre- clearance · for use of this voting method from the Voting
Rights Section ofthe U. S. Department ofJustice on October31, 2001.
Changes in Voter Turnout
Non- partisan at- large elections are held in the Town every two years on consolidated election
dates as governed by Arizona State Statute. This year, a total of six candidates competed to
fill four seats on the Town Council. Four candidates received a majority of the total votes
cast in the Primary Election making a General Election unnecessary.
The following chart illustrates voter turnout percentages over the last eighteen years. There
is a conspicuous increase in voter turnout in the 2000 and subsequent elections, presumably
as a result of the vote- by- mail method. In 1994, using the traditional voting method, turnout
fell to the lowest level of 12 percent. In the most recent " mail ballot" election, turnout
increased to 34 percent.
rT""" 1,------------------------------ ---------- ------------------ ---------- - ---- ---------------------------- ------ -------- ------------------- II
Voter Turnout By Year
1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2000 2002 2004 2004 2006 2006 2008
P G P G P G P
Cost of Mail Ballot Election
The Town contracts with Maricopa County for election services. lurisdictionsare charged a
fee per registered voter. The services provided in a mail ballot election include:
1. Preparation, design, printing and distribution ofthe Official Ballot.
2. Mailing of Official Ballot, affidavit and instructions to all voters
3. Conducting logic and accuracy test
4. Furnishing and transporting election supplies to town hall for Town's replacement
ballot/ depository site.
5. Processing mail ballots for signature authenticity
6. Tabulation ofballots and preparing official results for the Town's canvass.
In 1998, the Town conducted a conventional polling place election with two polling districts.
The Town was charged $ 6,200 total. Voter turnout in that election was a mere 16%. This
equates to $ 3.95 spent per ballot cast. If the Town had held a polling place election this year,
Maricopa County would have charged $ 0.87 per registered voter for a total cost $ 8,060.55.
However this figure does not include costs associated with securing polling locations,
employment ofpoll workers, and associated costs.
In the vote- by- mail elections held this year, the Town was charged $ 1.72 per registered voter
or $ 15,935.80 ($ 5.08 per ballot cast) for the Primary Election. Voter turnout was 34%.
Suggestions for Improvements or Refinements in the Mail Ballot Program
The most notable procedural improvement this year was the County's ability to provide prepaid
return postage on voted ballot envelopes. In previous elections, the Town received
complaints from voters whose ballots were returned for insufficient postage even though the
voter had affixed a fust- class stamp. The Town highlighted this concern in an earlier
submission to the legislature. This year it is a pleasure to report that those concerns were
Frequency and Severity of Mail Ballot Irregularities
Neither the Town ofParadise Valley nor the Maricopa County Elections Department
observed any irregularities.
Voter Satisfaction with the Process
Paradise Valley voters have generally expressed satisfaction with the ease and conveii1ence
of this voting method. The Town received no formal complaints or negative comments
regarding the mail ballot procedure.
Number of Nondeliverable ballots
A total of 256 ballots were returned as undeliverable in the Primary Election which is down
from the previous election. This higWights one of the advantages of a vote- by- mail election.
When two official election related mailings are returned by the Post Office, the County
Elections Department may move that voter to the inactive list. This helps County Recorders
update and maintain accurate active voter lists. It has the added benefit of reducing the cost
of elections for cities and towns since county election services are assessed based on the
number of active voters in the jurisdiction.
The Paradise Valley Town Council has expressed support for the continued use of this voting
method by adoption of a resolution authorizing future elections to be conducted in this
manner. The Clerk's Office is pleased with the process and maintains that vote- by- mail
increases voter participation. Vote- by- mail elections do not require Clerks to recruit, train,
and pay poll workers. Polling locations do not have to be identified and reserved. The
Clerk's Office does not have to respond to telephone calls on Election Day directing voters
to their proper polling locations. Voters are offered the option of voting and returning their
ballot through the mail or going to the Clerk's Office or any County Elections Office and
voting in person.
It is hoped that Paradise Valley's positive experience with vote- by- mail elections will not
only encourage other municipalities to experiment with this voting method, but also justify
the legislature's foresight in offering elections officials an opportunity to use 21 5t century
technology to increase voter participation in Arizona.
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