Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett delivers a moving message about the need to give each other more "intensive care," during the vigil hosted by the University of Arizona.

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

With only 42 days left until the 2012 general election, Secretary of State Ken Bennett offered a series of other election related numbers: 16, 14, 9 and 1. Sixteen days until early voting begins; 14 days left to register; 9 cases of suspected voter fraud; and 1 every single vote counts.

Joining forces with a non-partisan voter registration drive at Catholic Charities in Phoenix, Secretary Bennett urged Arizonans to register to vote before the Oct. 9 deadline and announced early voting would begin two days later on Oct. 11.

“Whether people choose to register to vote on our website, or at registration events around the state, we are glad that people are exercising one of our most valuable rights, the right to vote,” said Secretary Bennett. “Important choices lie ahead, and people must register by midnight on October 9th to be eligible to vote. With early voting beginning just two days later, time is short. At last count, more than 1.5 million voters participate in the state’s permanent early voting program (PEVL) which automatically sends a ballot to each voter who is eligible to vote in that election. Voters should expect to see their ballot by the third week of October and I would encourage them to return it as soon as possible.”

Although, early voting begins for most voters on October 11, military and overseas voters have already been sent their ballot. State law directs Arizona’s County Recorders to send registered overseas citizens and members of the military a ballot 45 days before the election.

“Due to the low percentage of military voter registration and turnout, our office has launched an initiative to improve their awareness and participation,” said Bennett. “Last Saturday was National Military Voter Readiness Day, and our office is working with Arizona’s military bases to educate our servicemen and women serving around the globe on how they can register and vote. It’s a simple process, and it allows them additional time to register. I would encourage families and friends of those serving overseas to have them connect with our office, or visit our website for more information.”

Improving voter participation is an important responsibility for the Secretary of State’s office. However ensuring election integrity is crucial in fostering voter confidence that Arizona’s elections are fair and free from voter fraud. To combat fraud, the AZSOS has been one of a 16-state consortium that participate in a “Cross-State Match” program.

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