Maricopa County Election Polling Station|Stock Photo

Maricopa County says its new devices are good to go for the upcoming Presidential Preference Election. 

The Maricopa County Elections Department said Monday its new equipment has been tested and certified accurate to count ballots.

The Secretary of State’s Office tested the department’s new accessible voting machines on Feb. 18 and its new central-count and precinct-based tabulators on Monday. 

The new tabulators increase the speed by which the department can count ballots – 6,000 to 8,000 ballots per hour, compared to the previous speed of 3,000 ballots per hour. 

“We made this investment to make sure we provide residents with results quicker, while still maintaining the security of our elections,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman said in a press release. “We are expecting historic voter turnout in 2020, and with nearly 2.4 million registered voters and growing, we felt it was time to upgrade our equipment to ensure this Department is best in class.”

The equipment replaces devices the county purchased in 1996. The replacements for the decades-old voting machines were piloted in the Madison School District election in November 2019. 

The new equipment also requires voters to fill in bubbles rather than connect lines to form an arrow to designate their choices. 

“This year will be historic, with more voters than ever before casting ballots in our County’s elections,” Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said in the release. “The new ballot style and tabulation equipment, tested and approved today, helps us serve the voters with the most accurate, secure and efficient equipment available.”

Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election is on March 17. The election is closed to non-party members, meaning only registered Democrats can vote for their preferred presidential candidate. According to the county, there are 732,380 Democrats eligible to vote. 

Maricopa County has already sent out more than 567,500 early ballots and processed over 94,000 returned ballots. Anyone wishing to vote by mail can request a ballot up through Friday. Mail-in ballots must be returned by March 11, while March 13 is the last day to vote early at polling locations in person.