Addressing project nears completion for Apache County voters
Grants from Secretary of State’s Office should help elections, voter registration
Apache County is nearing the end of a multi-year project to standardize addresses for its many rural residents, easing voter registration and election operations in the area.
The county’s Voter Validation Project, ongoing since 2007, has been made possible by nearly $119,000 in federal grants that have been allocated by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. The effort has already successfully standardized the addresses of 18,000 voters in Apache County. About 20,000 addresses remain to be standardized, with the project scheduled for completion by April 1 – in time for local elections and a potential statewide special election May 18.
Prior to the Voter Validation Project, tens of thousands of voters in the county lived at non-standard addresses – with residents identifying the location of their home by its distance from local landmarks. The informal system created confusion for voters and election officials alike, hampering voter registration and resulting in some individuals showing up to cast a ballot at the wrong polling place.
“I’m pleased that Apache County has put this money to good use by updating its addressing system. This is something that has long been needed for residents living in the county’s rural areas and reservations,” said Secretary of State Ken Bennett. “Hopefully this will make for a smoother election and voter registration process for Apache County residents.”
Now, problem addresses are being standardized through the use of special software and Geographic Information System (GIS) coordinates provided by the Navajo Tribal Utility Company, as well as coordinates associated with local roads and land parcels. Funding for the project comes from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), approved by Congress following the 2000 election.
“With the HAVA funding made available from the Secretary of State’s Office, we are now able to convert all of our non-standard voter addresses to a standard addressing,” said Apache County Recorder LeNora Johnson. “This project will ensure that each voter is in his/her correct voting precinct, hence validating their votes for all elections.”
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