Dec 5, 2012 6:16 PM by Ian Cross

The parrot ate my ballot! Report includes unusual replacement ballot requests

TUCSON - Hungry parrots, queasy cats, and microwave mishaps were among the reasons why Pima County voters requested replacement ballots during the last election cycle, according to a report from the Recorder's Office.

The Pima County Recorder has released a comprehensive report on the vote-by-mail ballots issued to voters this last election cycle, including some of the unusual reasons voters requested replacement ballots.

In total, 314,258 ballots were mailed to Pima County voters who requested them, the report states. Of this figure, a total of 255,841 ballots were voted and returned utilizing the vote-by-mail process.

The remaining 58,417 voters who were mailed a vote-by-mail chose not to use this ballot to vote. However, 15,464 voters who were mailed a vote-by-mail ballot chose instead to vote at their assigned polling location on Election Day and were issued a provisional ballot, out of a total of 27,646 provisional ballots issued county-wide, the report states.

The remaining 42,953 voters who received a vote-by-mail ballot did not participate in the election and are being categorized as non-voting participants.

Under Arizona law, vote-by-mail voters can request up to two replacement ballots if the first ballot is lost, misplaced or damaged. The Recorder's Office issued 5,383 voters a second ballot, and 193 voters a third.

Some of the more unusual reasons voters gave for requesting a replacement ballot include:

• Dropped cigarette on ballot and burned it
• Cat vomited on my first ballot
• Changed my mind for President after the last debate
• Parrot ate the ballot
• I accidentally put it through the shredder
• Ballot got wet; put it in the microwave to dry it; ballot caught on fire

The Pima County Recorder's office recognizes that there were several issues concerning the current vote-by-mail process, including the fact that, for whatever reason, almost 20 percent of those who requested a vote-by-mail ballot did not vote with it.

These issues will be discussed during a state-wide meeting of election officials in Phoenix Thursday.


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