By: TARA ALATORRE –
PHOENIX – The National Association of Counties (NACo) will award a 2018 Information Technology Achievement Award to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in Nashville, Tenn., this week at its annual conference and exposition.
The award is in recognition of the Maricopa County Recorder Office’s (MCRO) program Sitebook that was launched during the November 2017 jurisdictional elections, which is a new voter check-in system that reduced the average time voters spent at the polls to less than one minute.
The Sitebook program was launched less than one year after Adrian Fontes was elected as the Maricopa County Recorder on his campaign that promised voters he would fix the county’s broken election system.
Fontes won the election over the longtime incumbent Helen Purcell, who garnered local and national criticism during the 2016 presidential elections for reducing polling locations, which caused long lines and potentially disenfranchised voters.
“We’re back on top!” Fontes said. “Our people have created the next generation of election equipment in-house and I couldn’t be more proud. With this new system, the voters win.”
Along with reducing voter check-in time at the polls, MCRO’s implementation of Sitebook also reduced the number of provisional ballots for the county during jurisdictional and congressional elections in 2017 and 2018.
Sitebook was used in communities in the North Valley during the 2018 Congressional District 8 Special Primary elections and the average check-in time was 97 seconds, with 531 provisional ballots cast, of which 447 were valid. During the 2015 elections under former Recorder Purcell, there were about 2,700 provisional ballots cast, according to MCRO.
The Sitebook system uses a touch screen and an identification scanner for check-in with custom software that prints ballots on demand at polling locations after voters have been verified. Ballots are tabulated in-precinct, decreasing ballot handling and reducing points of vulnerability.
The new system also reduces waste by about 10 pallets of paper per election, according to MCRO.
“Counties will seize opportunities to deliver services more efficiently and build stronger communities every day,” NACo President Roy Charles Brookes said. “Achievement award-winning programs are examples for counties that are determined to enhance services for our residents.”
NACo is an organization that represents and empowers counties, recognized pioneering and effective government programs in counties across the U.S. Since 1970 NACo has recognized county governments at its annual Achievement Awards.