City Council Needs to Revisit Vote-by-Mail Decision

As Tucson prepares to largely scrap polling places and institute an all-mail-voting system in the next election, something happened just south of our city that should raise red flags (Guest Commentary, April 14 and April 28).

The post office apparently misplaced an entire tray of ballots for the city of Sahuarita. While the Sahuarita city clerk has issued replacement ballots, this undercuts one of the main arguments that the City Recorder's Office made to the Tucson City Council—that they know where the ballots are at all times.

In the days after the City Council's April decision to mandate a mail-in-only election this year, I heard from many Tucsonans who were concerned with the decision to largely do away with the way people have traditionally voted in our representative form of government. Over the last two elections, 45 percent of all votes were cast at the polls. There are broader concerns too, namely that the integrity of our elections may be compromised.

Efforts at the Capitol to preserve Tucson's hybrid voting system were unsuccessful. I attached an amendment to address this issue to SB 1331, which was vetoed for unrelated reasons.

However, there is still time for the Tucson City Council to revisit their decision. As we recently learned, there are risks, errors and mistakes to a mail-in-only election.

Councilman Steve Kozachik has proposed that the question of whether future elections are conducted by mail-in ballot be referred to the voters this fall. I support this proposal.

All voters, regardless of their party registration, should have a say in how they will be allowed to participate in future city elections.

State Rep. Ted Vogt

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