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Pima GOP fears Tucson ballots could foster fraud

Party ID visible on envelopes
Posted at 7:29 PM, Oct 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 22:29:20-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - The head of Pima County's Republican Party says he's worried about the potential for fraud in the Tucson City election.

He says city ballots make it too easy to throw out Republican votes.

For Tucson voters the mailbox is your ballot box.

Tucson elections are mail-in only. In fact it's recommended that you mail your ballot no later than October 30 to make sure it arrives in time to be counted in the November 5th election.

But the local head of the Republican Party says he's worried those ballots make it too easy to recognize, and exclude Republican votes.

Pima Republican Party Chair David Eppihimer says city ballots have party affiliation marked where anyone can see it. He sees that as an invitation to make Republican ballots disappear.

"You're dealing with people who have prejudices and inborn preferences on their own part in an election, and they're involved in this process, and they're sitting there knowing nearly exactly how, what kind of ballot is in these envelopes."

Eppihimer worries workers at the Tucson City Clerk could divert Republican ballots or decide not to verify signatures on them.

He wrote Tucson City Clerk Roger Randolph. Randolph wrote back saying precise procedures will keep track of all the ballots and says, "I am confident each of us take our role in the election process very seriously. Additionally the criminal code is very strict on voter fraud."

He does say he'll address the ID issue on future ballots.

Eppihimer concedes there's no time to change ballots now but he may sue to challenge whether the election is valid.

The Pima County Election Integrity Commission has also questioned Tucson ballots making it easy to identify who is in which party.

Pima Democratic Party chair Alison Jones notes that Eppihimer's letter does not claim election fraud has happened but she says to avoid questions it probably is better to drop the party markers.

She says everyone wants an honest election and she's confident Tucson will have one.

"Every time anyone is handling a ballot at a table there are people of two different political parties at that table. No one can single handedly handle a ballot, without having another person there to watch."

If you can't get your ballot in the mail in to be sure it arrives by November 5th, the city does have places to drop off your ballot. Your can see a list of them at this link.