Districts and Precincts
The County Board of Supervisors is responsible for establishing a convenient number of election precincts within the county and defining those precincts' boundaries. A.R.S. § 16-411(A).
If precinct boundaries are changed, for example to address population shifts or excessive wait times, the Board must finalize those changes by October 1 in the year preceding a general election. The new precinct boundaries become effective on January 2 of the year of the general election. A.R.S § 16-412.
What's on your ballot is defined by the different districts you live in. Here are some of the different types of districts in Arizona:
- Congressional District: Arizona has nine congressional districts. This is what determines who your representative in the United States Congress is. These district lines are drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission every 10 years.
- Legislative District: Arizona has 30 legislative districts. Each legislative district has one State Senator and two State Representatives elected from them. These district lines are drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission every 10 years.
- Board of Supervisors/County Office Districts: Members of each County Board of Supervisors are elected from these districts. Additional districts may follow the same lines such as Community College Boards.
- City/Town Council Districts: Some city/town councils are elected at large; others are elected by district. Contact your city clerk to learn more about your local elections.
- School Districts: There are a wide variety of school districts across Arizona. Some are unified, others have separate elementary and high school districts. You can learn more about your local school districts through your County Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- Special Districts: Additional districts may be established such as Fire, Water, or Sanitation Districts.
Find all your districts and other important information by searching your voter registration on my.arizona.vote.
Establishing Precincts and Voting Locations
Establishing Voting Locations
The County Board of Supervisors (in consultation with the officer in charge of elections) establishes a reasonable and adequate number of voting locations for an election. A.R.S § 16-411(B)(3).
There are two possible types of voting locations that will be available on Election Day:
- Polling places: voters in a particular precinct are required to vote at a polling place specifically designated for that precinct; or
- Vote centers: voters are permitted to vote at any vote center within the county, regardless of which precinct the voter lives in. A.R.S. § 16-411(B)(4).
Collectively, polling places and vote centers are referred to as "voting locations."
Except for the designation of an emergency voting locations, the Board of Supervisors must finalize all election day voting locations at least 20 days before a statewide primary or general election or 10 days before a special election. A.R.S. § 16-411(B). You can look up your voting location at my.arizona.vote or visit your County Elections website.
Poll workers are an essential part of democracy and the election process. Counties rely on poll workers to work on election day, throughout the early voting period, and, in some cases, after election day. Each county has different needs, from long-term positions at their tabulation center to working at voting locations on Election Day. No matter the role, poll workers are vital to the success of elections in Arizona. Sign up to be a poll worker by contacting your County Elections Department: Poll Worker Sign Up
Poll workers must be registered voters, except for student poll workers. Other than candidates for precinct committeeman, no candidate (nor the spouse, child, or parent of a candidate) for any office on the ballot may serve as a poll worker during that election. A.R.S. § 16-531(D).
The inspector, judges, marshal (and clerks, if applicable) are collectively known as the "election board" for a particular voting location and are referred to as poll workers or board workers. A.R.S. § 16-531(G). These teams are comprised of poll workers who are registered with different political parties. Poll workers are paid for their work.
The full group of poll workers is called the election board. The following duties are performed by the members of the election board:
- Prepare and monitor the voting location, including taking appropriate measures to preserve order and manage voter lines; A.R.S. §§ 16-562; 16-512.
- Open, exhibit, and lock the ballot box before receiving any ballots; A.R.S. § 16-564(A).
- Maintain the signature roster or e-pollbook; A.R.S. § 16-571(C).
- Check for proper identification; A.R.S. § 16-579(A).
- Direct voters to the correct polling place if they arrived at the wrong one, and providing the specific address (for assigned polling place elections only);
- Mark spoiled ballots (inspector and only one judge required); A.R.S. § 16-585.
- Ensure that voted ballots are deposited in the correct ballot box, and deposit ballots in the ballot box at the voter's request; A.R.S § 16-580(C).
- Assist voters in using accessible voting equipment and assist voters in marking the ballot (two board members of different political parties required); A.R.S. § 16-580(E).
- Close the polls (inspector and two judges required); A.R.S. § 16-565(C).
- Prepare a report of the number of voters who have voted and seal the box containing the voted ballots; and A.R.S. §§ 16-608(A); 16-616.
- Return the signature roster, copies of the precinct registers, and other election supplies to the Board of Supervisors or officer in charge of elections. A.R.S. § 16-617.
Jurisdictions covered under the language minority provisions under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act should appoint bilingual poll workers and/or ensure access to on-site or remote interpretation services in the covered language(s) to provide language assistance to voters who need it.
Additionally, an Election Terminology Glossary in the covered languages should be provided among the polling place supplies.
The Board of Supervisors may appoint high school students to serve as a clerk on the election board if the student:
A student poll worker must receive poll worker training and be supervised by a trained adult poll worker at the voting location. A.R.S. §§ 16-531(F)(3)-(4).
A student's absence from school due to service as a student poll worker does not affect the school's average daily membership or count against any mandatory attendance requirements for the student. A.R.S. §§ 15-901(A)(1); 16-531(G).
Contact your county to find out more about becoming a poll worker for the next election: Poll Worker Sign Up
All poll workers must attend training deemed necessary by the officers in charge of elections. The training will cover a variety topics such as:
- Voting equipment checks, including ensuring that equipment seals have not been tampered with and match the seal log;
- Establishing the 75-foot limit and enforcing non-electioneering and non-intimidation rules;
- Procedures for checking identification;
- Provisional ballot processing;
- Operation of accessible voting equipment;
- Operation of e-pollbooks or procedures for managing the signature rosters and poll lists;
- Political party observers;
- Transmitting results and/or delivery of voted ballots;
Political Party and Other Observers
Political party representatives are permitted to observe at voting locations on Election Day and central counting places for partisan elections. Up to three additional people representing a candidate for nonpartisan office or representing a political committee in support of or in opposition to a ballot measure, proposition, or question may also observer at the central counting places.
Observers must follow statutory rules and any additional procedures set forth by the County Recorder or other officer in charge of elections.
The county chairperson (or designee) of each party represented on the ballot must submit the names of specific political party observers to the County Recorder or officer in charge of elections in writing by the deadline set by the County. A.R.S. § 16-590(A).
Political party observers may be appointed to specific voting locations (for Election Day observation), to a central counting place, or to multiple voting locations as authorized by the political party chairperson and the officer in charge of elections. Observers appointed to observe in multiple locations need only one appointment in writing designating the various locations where the observer is appointed. An appointment is not transferable to another individual.
Only one representative at any time of each political party represented on the ballot who has been appointed by the political party chairperson shall remain within the 75-foot limit while polls are open. A.R.S. §§ 16-515(A), (B), (H).
Appointed political party observers do not need to be qualified electors in the precinct or county of observation. A.R.S. § 16-590(A). Except for precinct committeeman candidates, candidates appearing on the ballot or official write-in candidates cannot serve as political party observers.
Political party observers may observe the following activities at a voting location:
- Opening of the voting location; A.R.S. § 16-566(A).
- Voting at the voting location, but may not observe in the voting booth or otherwise prevent a voter's ability to maintain a secret ballot; A.R.S. § 16-570(B).
- Closing of the voting location;
- Transporting of ballots from the voting location to a receiving site using a separate vehicle; and/or
- Any other significant voting or processing activities at the voting location provided that it does not interfere with or impede the election procedures or staff. A.R.S. § 16-603.
All political party observers are subject to removal by the County Recorder or other officer in charge of elections for failure to comply with a request to cease an activity that interferes with the election process or violates state or federal law.
Political party representatives may observe at a central counting place and at each point where ballots are handled or transferred from one election official to another, including areas where the following activities take place:
- Receiving the ballots at the County Recorder's office or central counting place;
- Inspecting the ballots;
- Reviewing ballots by the Write-in Tally Board;
- Duplicating ballots by the Ballot Duplication Board;
- Adjudicating ballots by the Electronic Vote Adjudication Board;
- Receiving electronic media or processing voting results by the Accuracy Certification Board;
- Tabulation of ballots; and/or
- Any other significant tabulation or processing activities at a central counting place provided that it does not interfere with or impede the election procedures or staff.
The Elections Procedures Manual outlines guidelines for observation, and the County may issue additional rules or guidelines for observation inside their facilities:
- An observer may not mark any ballot, place any type of material on a ballot, or otherwise touch a voted ballot during observation. Further, an observer shall not offer to assist any voter in the process of voting at a voting location. If a voter specifically requests an observer's assistance in voting, the observer may only assist the voter after relinquishing the formal status of an observer (for example, by returning any observer badge or identification, exiting the voting location, and then accompanying the voter into the voting location as an assistant rather than an observer). The observer may resume their role as an observer after assisting the voter.
- Observers shall not touch or handle election materials, rosters, early ballot envelopes, provisional ballot envelopes, ballot transfer containers, voting machines, or voting machine components except as expressly permitted by the officer in charge of elections during demonstrations.
- Observers may not interfere with or impede the election procedures or staff.
- If an observer has a question about the proceedings or seeks to raise an objection, the observer should speak solely to the designated point of contact and NOT to other poll workers or staff.
- The officer in charge of elections or inspector may prohibit observers from using electronic devices in the voting location or central counting place if doing so would interfere with or impede the election procedures or staff. No photos may be taken within the 75-foot limit of a voting location. A.R.S. § 16-515(G).
- Observers may not wear, carry, or display any materials that identify or express support or opposition for a political party, political organization, or a candidate or ballot measure appearing on the ballot. A.R.S. § 16-515(F).
- In cases where multiple ballots are dropped off at a voting location, an observer may not, within the 75-foot limit: (1) inspect, copy, or photograph the early ballot envelopes in an effort to discern voters' identities; or (2) confront, question, or photograph the individual who dropped off the early ballots.
- Observers can enter and leave a voting location or central counting place so long as their entering and leaving does not interfere with or impede the election procedures or staff.
- Observers may take handwritten notes during observation but must use a writing instrument of a color designated by the officer in charge of the election or procedure.
- If an observer is asked by the inspector or other officer in charge to cease an activity that interferes with the election process, the observer must comply or face possible ejection.
- Observers must be prepared to show their appointment credential immediately upon entering any voting location or central counting place or upon request by any election official.
- At a central counting place, all observers must check in with the County Recorder or other officer in charge of elections prior to being admitted and may be required to log in and out of the facility each time they enter or leave.
- At a central counting place, the County Recorder or other officer in charge of elections may ensure that observers are given identifying badges to ensure that observers are clearly identifiable.
Preparation of Ballots
Your County is responsible for preparing the official ballot to be used in federal, statewide, legislative, and countywide elections. A.R.S. §§ 16-405; 16-503(A).
Official ballots are required to follow certain requirements as outlined in statute and the Election Procedures Manual. This includes specific requirements for paper, font, order of contests, headers, and ballot type designation.
If the number of recognized party candidates in a particular race exceeds the number to elect, the officer in charge of elections must rotate candidate names in that particular race by precinct so that each candidate will appear substantially an equal number of times in each possible location for the race across all primary election ballots. If the number of candidates in a particular race is less than or equal to the number to elect, the candidates' names must be listed in alphabetical order by last name and no rotation is required. A.R.S. § 16-464(A).
If more person's file nomination petitions for the office of precinct committeeman than the number to elect in a particular precinct, the county officer in charge of elections must prepare a separate ballot style that includes the office of precinct committeeman for the voters registered with that political party in that precinct. A.R.S. § 16-822(C). The position of the precinct committeemen candidate names must be drawn by lot at a public meeting called by the Board of Supervisors for that purpose. A.R.S. § 16-464(B). This ballot style, which includes all the races in the precinct and the precinct committeeman race, must be provided only to voters registered with that political party in the precinct. A.R.S. § 16-822(C).
For partisan candidate races, the official ballot must list candidates in a particular race in the following descending order:
- Candidates who are registered with a recognized political party that appeared on the gubernatorial ballot in the most recent general election for the office of governor, listed in the order that corresponds to the number of votes for each party's gubernatorial candidate in that county;
- Candidates who are registered with a recognized political party that did not appear on the gubernatorial ballot in the most recent general election for the office of governor, listed in alphabetical order by last name; and
- Independent candidates who were nominated pursuant to A.R.S. § 16-341 (along with a three-letter designation determined by the filing officer), listed in alphabetical order by last name. A.R.S. § 16-502(E).
If there are two or more candidates of the same political party for the same office, or more than one candidate for a judicial office, the names of all such candidates in the particular race must be rotated so that each candidate will substantially appear an equal number of times in each possible location. However, if the number of candidates in a particular race is less than or equal to the number to elect, the candidates' names must be listed in alphabetical order by last name and no rotation is required. A.R.S. §§ 16-502(E), (H).
In general elections with a presidential candidate on the ballot, presidential electors' first and last names must be listed in alphabetical order (according to last name). The presidential and vice-presidential candidates' last names must be printed in bold and placed adjacent to the elector names, with the presidential candidate's name printed above the vice-presidential candidate's name. A.R.S. § 16-502(C)(1).
Please use the marking device provided by or recommended by your County when you mark your ballot.
Refer to the instructions on your ballot in order to properly mark it. If you are having difficulty marking your ballot at a voting location, you may ask for assistance. The official ballot instructions will include the following voter instructions:
- Put a mark according to the instructions next to the name of each candidate for each office for whom you wish to vote.
- If you wish to vote for a person whose name is not printed on the ballot, write such name in the blank space provided on the ballot or write in envelope and put a mark according to the instructions next to the name so written.
- Put a mark according to the instructions next to the word "yes" (or "for") for each proposition or question you wish to be adopted. Put a mark according to the instructions next to the word "no" (or "against") for each proposition or question you wish not to be adopted.
In a partisan race where a candidate sought a political party nomination by primary, the officer in charge of elections must place a three-letter designation to the right of the candidate's name that corresponds to the party designated in the candidate's nomination paper. A.R.S. § 16-502(E).
The following three-letter designations correspond to the current or recently recognized political parties:
- DEM: Democratic Party
- GRN: Green Party (not recognized party at the state level as of 2022)
- LBT: Libertarian Party
- REP: Republican Party
In a partisan race where an independent candidate sought a nomination other than by primary, the officer in charge of elections must determine a three-letter designation based on the three-word designation in the candidate's nomination paper. A.R.S. §§ 16-341(D);16-502(E).
Voters who do not request a ballot by mail will receive a sample ballot. Sample ballots are mailed 11 days prior to Election Day. The sample ballot mailing will include:
- The appropriate sample ballot or corresponding to what the voter will receive when they vote in-person;
- the list of acceptable forms of identification to vote in-person; and
- information regarding where to vote in-person.
Language Minority Voting Materials
Under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, Counties may be required to provide voting materials in minority languages. Following the 2020 census, the Department of Justice determined the covered languages in Arizona to include:
||Hopi, Navajo, Paiute*
*Exceptions apply to providing language coverage in these languages.
A covered jurisdiction must determine which language or dialects will be effective in meeting the requirements of the Voting Rights Act by working with community members who speak the covered language. 28 C.F.R. § 55.11.
All counties and other political subdivisions are strongly encouraged to provide voting materials in Spanish even if it is not required.
Voting Materials Required to Be in Minority Language(s)
The counties must provide the following materials for the following materials in the covered languages as is practicable:
- Registration and voting notices;
- In-person assistance;
- Ballots; and
- Any other materials or information relating to the electoral process. 28 C.F.R. § 55.15.
Where the language is oral or unwritten, the covered jurisdiction is only required to provide oral instructions, assistance, or other information relating to registration and voting in the covered language. 52 U.S.C. § 10503(c).