Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tucson jumps ahead with OK of mail elections

(Yuma Sun Editorial - April 7)

Yuma County residents have received letters asking if they would like to vote by mail in advance of the May 17 special election to decide whether to extend the jail district sales tax. It is likely there will many requests for the mail ballots as a large majority of local voters now use that method.

As always, there will still be the opportunity for voters to go to polling places to decide whether they want to continue the half-cent tax beyond 2015 to fund jail operations. Wisely, however, county officials have reduced the number of polling places to save money and reduce the need for hard-to-get poll workers.
Inevitably, there will be more and more emphasis on mail voting and less on polling place voting.
The Tucson City Council decided Tuesday to accelerate that trend. It voted to have an all-mail system for city elections. There will no polling sites as such, although a small number of drop-off sites will be open on election day for those who forget to mail their ballots ahead of time.
It is a move that makes sense. Maintaining polling sites that relatively few people use is costly and the reality is that they are very hard to staff. Tucson over the years has kept reducing the number of polling sites due to the inability to find workers.
These same concerns are relevant here in Yuma County. There has been discussion here of making some elections all-mail, but so far that has not happened.
The reduction in polling sites for the jail district vote demonstrates that we are on the same trend line as Tucson. How long will it be before we come to the same realization as the Tucson council and simply move to all-mail elections?