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Apache County experiencing few problems

ST. JOHN’S, APACHE COUNTY, Ariz. – By 2 p.m. local time, half of the ballots in Apache County had already been used.

If Apache County is typical of voting in Arizona, things are going fairly smoothly.

“We’ve had some problems. There was a power outage in a couple of precincts and an inspector in one precinct failed to report to duty this morning. I haven’t heard of any weather problems -- it’s nice and sunny and a little bit windy, but nothing bad -- so I don’t know what caused the power outages. So we’ve had a couple of things like that, but we kind of handled them as they came up and kept things going,” Steve Kizer, Apache County elections director, said.

Apache County is located on the Arizona portion of the Navajo nation. The county has 45 precincts, a population of 70,000-75,000, and 40,000 registered voters.

There is some confusion among voters about the state’s identification requirements, Kizer said.

Voters there are required to present a government-issued photo ID, but if, for example, the address on their driver’s license doesn’t match the address in the voter’s registration, they’re required to present another form of ID.

“Often the address doesn’t match what’s on the driver’s license because you can move or get a new post office box, but you don’t have to get a new license; you just tell the Motor Vehicles Department that your address has changed,” Kizer said.

Hopefully, voters can come up with some other form of ID that will show their current address, such as their voter registration card, Kizer said, but if they can’t they vote on “conditional/provisional ballot,” and then they have five days to come up with the proper ID.

The total vote isn’t certified until a week from Election Day when the Board of Supervisors signs off on it.

The Election Protection Web site at www.866vote.org is running a live update of all the problems and inquiries at polling places across the county. By mid-afternoon, the site showed 160 problems reported across Arizona, population approximately 2,862,555, and 551 inquires answered.

In Apache County, the problems reported have been typical, Kizer said: poll workers had some problems setting the electronic voting machines, another two precincts reported problems with the ballot reading scanner.

“So, of the 45 precincts I would estimate probably five of them had what I would consider a serious problem,” Kizer said.

Apache County was predicting an 80 percent voter turnout, and there was heavy voting early in the day.

“It’s hard to say, but based on the morning turning I’d say, yeah, for sure. Some of the precincts have reported using half of the ballots already and they expect a big rush after work. What I’ve heard is that a lot of the voters in anticipation of long lines wanted to get out to the polls early this morning, so it’s ironic that they created the long lines. Well, we’ll see what happened, but it looks like an 80 percent turnout was not an unreasonable estimate,” Kizer said.