Listen:

Download as MP3

The Pima County Recorder’s Office says it has identified the source of problems with early ballots in last month’s election, using both statistics and anecdotes from voters.

About 81 percent of the 314,000 people in Pima County who are on the early voting list got their ballots in the mail, voted and returned them to the Recorder’s Office in time to be counted.

Almost 5 percent of people who received early ballots instead went to their polling places to vote in person on Election Day, and then had to vote provisional ballots.

Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez said she is working with other recorders in the state to come up with ways to reduce that number.

Another 5,000 people requested replacement ballots in the mail. The recorder is required to ask people why they want a new ballot. Rodriguez released a list of some of those reasons, and they include accidents, such as dropping a cigarette on a ballot, causing it to catch fire; and animal mishaps, such as pets getting sick on or eating the ballot.

One voter said the ballot got wet. When the voter put it in the microwave to dry it, it caught fire.

Others said they changed their minds or simply made mistakes, such as using the wrong color pen (purple highlighter) or writing utensil (a marker that bled through to the other side of the ballot).