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Easier polling on Secretary of State's agenda
The Arizona Secretary of State wants to reform the election system so that Yuma County voters don't have to stand in long lines at the polls like those encountered in the November presidential election.
Ken Bennett, in a visit to The Sun Wednesday, said excitement over then-Sen. Barack Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain helped create "bottlenecks" at the polls. At times, the longs lines caused voters to wait more than two hours. He said he hopes to improve the long lines with additional tools to help poll workers.
He said some polling precincts only had one book for workers to look up voters and verify their identities. He said one solution he's looking into is an electronic system that would help verify voters - and have more than one of them that could be used simultaneously by poll workers.
And even politicians were not immune to the effects of a high voter turnout: Bennett said he ended up in an extremely long line at his own polling precinct in Prescott.
In addition, he said there are two bills in the state Legislature that might help make future elections easier.
The first would change the additional identification requirements from two pieces to one, making it easier for voters to prove their identity, Bennett said.
The second, he said would allow poll workers to accept military IDs as an acceptable form of identification. They are not accepted because they do not have an address listed on the ID, which indicates a voter is at the appropriate precinct.
Bennett visited Yuma Wednesday during a tour around the state to make a presentation on the state budget, illustrating how the problem began in the 2007 budget year.
Now, the state Legislature is trying to eliminate a $3 billion deficit in the 2010 budget.
Bennett reiterated that the state will have to cut spending. He also said state lawmakers should not rely on federal stimulus money for permanent programs because the money is not reoccurring, available only for the next two years.