FAQ Information

To assist voters, the Cochise County Elections Department developed the following list of frequently asked questions. For voter registration information, please see the FAQ list for the County Recorder click https://www.cochise.az.gov/recorder/home

How do I know it's safe to vote by mail?

In Cochise County, nearly 80% of voters choose to vote by mail or vote early in person at the Recorder's Office.  Mail ballots must be signed and each signature is verified by staff that have forensic level signature verification training.  Voters can make sure their ballot was returned and counted by going to my.arizona.vote and entering their voter registration information.  The system will show you the date the ballot was counted.  Voters can also call the Recorder's Office at 520-432-8358. Voting by mail is safe, accurate, secure, verifiable and efficient for voters.

What Legislative and Congressional District is Cochise County?

Cochise County is in Legislative District #14 and Congressional District #2.

How can I find out if I am registered?

Call the Cochise County Voter Registration Department at 520-432-8358.

When does one have to re-register?

A voter must re-register if the voter moved from one residence to another, changed their name, or if the voter wishes to change political parties. Remember to fill in all questions as this is a re-registration.

How can I register or re-register to vote?

Voter registration forms are available at Libraries, Post Offices and Motor Vehicle Departments throughout the State.  They are also available at the County Recorder’s Office at 1415 Melody Lane, Bldg. B in Bisbee. You may also register or re-register online at  www.servicearizona.com

I’m registered Independent. Can I vote in the Primary Election? Yes – but you must select a Party ballot.

“At primary elections there shall be provided a separate ballot for each party entitled to participate in the primary.” (A.R.S. §16-467(A))

Each “recognized” political party shall have a separate ballot for partisan primary elections.

In Arizona, the recognized parties are DEMOCRATIC, LIBERTARIAN and REPUBLICAN.  If you are registered as one of the recognized parties, you shall receive your party’s ballot.  Due to a ruling by the U.S. District Court, the Arizona Libertarian party is not included in Arizona open primary. You may only vote a LIBERTARIAN ballot if you are registered as a LIBERTARIAN.

If you are registered as INDEPENDENT, NON-PARTISAN or as a member of an unrecognized political party, you may choose ONE and only ONE, of the available recognized party ballots to vote.  Once you have chosen a party ballot you cannot exchange it for another party ballot.

Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) and the Primary Election

Ninety days (90) prior to the Primary Election letters will be sent to all voters on the PEVL with information regarding the Primary and General Elections. Voters who aren’t registered with a recognized party will receive a form which will allow them to select the party ballot they wish to vote.  A ballot will not be mailed to unaffiliated voters until we receive a form indicating their ballot choice. You may also make your choice by contacting the Recorder’s Office.

Who can vote in the Presidential Preference Election (PPE)?

To vote in the Presidential Preference Election (PPE), an eligible voter MUST be REGISTERED with a Political Party recognized in Arizona that has a candidate on the ballot.  Voters CANNOT select a ballot – they MUST BE REGISTERED with the Party of their choice prior to the last day to request a ballot for that election.  This election is different than a Primary election where Independent voters can select a ballot style.

I didn’t vote in the Primary Election – Can I vote in the General Election?

Yes, you do not have to vote in every election to keep your registration active.  However, if a voter is on the inactive list through two Federal Elections (four consecutive years) the registration will be cancelled.  Contact the Recorder’s Office for questions about your voter status.

What are Vote Centers?

A vote center is a centralized polling place where any eligible voter in the county may go to vote. The vote center model gives voters more flexibility and convenience on Election Day because voters are not assigned to a specific polling location determined by their address.  Vote centers are an alternative to traditional, neighborhood-based precincts. Cochise County moved from precinct based polling locations to Vote Centers in 2015.

Where do I vote on election day?

Voters registered in Cochise County can vote at ANY Vote Center within the County.  There are no assigned polling locations in our county. For a list of locations and an interactive map, go to https://cochise.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=147970fcf40d47a5a258e22ee134def4

How can I vote early?

To request a ballot by mail, call the Recorder’s Office at 520-432-8358, email us at Recorder@cochise.az.gov  or through our Early Ballot Request on the Recorder’s website page no sooner than 93 days or no later than 11 days prior to an election.

If you will be out of town through the early voting period, you may request that an early ballot be mailed to the address where you will be staying. Call 520-432-8358.

You may vote in person from 27 days prior to the election up to 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election at the County Recorder's Office at 1415 Melody Lane, Building B, Bisbee, AZ

You can sign up to be on the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) and automatically receive a ballot in the mail for every election you’re eligible to vote in.  Contact the Recorder’s Office at 520-432-8358.

Do early votes really get counted and is it safe to vote early?

Yes. And yes! All early votes are required to be placed into a signed Affidavit envelope.  Each one of those envelopes is scanned and verified by a person at the Recorder’s Office who has been specially trained in forensic signature verification.  These verified ballots are then processed and counted. The results are released one hour after the polls close on election night. If the signature doesn’t match, the Recorder’s Office will attempt to contact the voter.

It is very safe to vote early by mail since the signature match is done for every ballot.  Voters can drop their voted ballot in the mail, bring it to the Recorder’s Office or use one of the secure and convenient ballot drop boxes located around the County.  A list of those locations is posted on the county website.

What if I make a mistake on my early ballot – what do I do?

If you make a mistake on your early ballot, call the Recorder’s Office at 520-432-8358 for instructions:

  • We may mail you a replacement ballot.
  • You may bring your ballot in to a designated early voting site for replacement.
  • You may go to a vote center on Election Day and vote.

How do I use the machines at the Vote Center to cast my vote?

All of the machines are touch screen and easy to use.  They are fully ADA compliant as well and you can use the headphones to listen to the ballot as well as view and select your choices on the screen.  We’ve got a 2-minute video in English and Spanish that demonstrates how easy they are to operate located on our website homepage


How can I save my time on Election Day, so I don’t have to wait?

Voters can have a ballot mailed to them, or choose to be placed on the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) so you never have to go to the vote center – you automatically receive a ballot for every election you’re eligible to vote in.  You do the research, vote the ballot, sign it, and send it back.  We count it.  If you go vote in person, please be prepared and “know before you go”.  Every voter not on PEVL receives a sample ballot in the mail 10 days prior to the statewide election.  Do the research, mark that sample ballot, and bring it with you on election day.  Then you just make your selections on the ExpressVote machine, print the ballot card, and insert it into the tabulating machine to be counted.  If everyone does the research prior to going to vote, it makes the process go much faster.

What hours are the polls open on election day?

On Election Day all Vote Centers open at 6:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM.  Voters standing in line at 7:00PM will be able to cast their vote.

Where do I drop off my Early Ballot on Election Day?

At any participating Vote Center within Cochise County.  You do not have to stand in line.  Come into the Vote Center and drop your ballot, in the signed affidavit envelope, in the drop box.

What Identification do I need to provide to vote in person on Election Day?

You must be a citizen of the United States to register to vote.  When you go to vote in person, please present one form of identification from List #1 or two different forms of identification from List #2 or 3. (A.R.S. § 16-579(A)).

Please note: Members of federally-recognized tribes are not required to have an address or photo on their identification in order to cast a provisional ballot.

List #1 - Sufficient Photo ID including name and address (One Required)

  • Valid Arizona driver license
  • Valid Arizona non-operating identification card
  • Tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification
  • Valid United States federal, state, or local government issued identification

List #2 - Sufficient ID without a photograph that bear the name and address (Two Required)

  • Utility bill of the elector that is dated within 90 days of the date of the election. A utility bill may be for electric, gas, water, solid waste, sewer, telephone, cellular phone, or cable television
  • Bank or credit union statement that is dated within 90 days of the date of the election
  • Valid Arizona Vehicle Registration
  • Indian census card
  • Property tax statement of the elector's residence
  • Tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification Arizona vehicle insurance card
  • Recorder's Certificate
  • Valid United States federal, state, or local government issued identification, including a voter registration card issued by the County Recorder
  • Any mailing to the elector marked “Official Election Material”

List #3 - Mix & Match from Lists #1 & #2 (Two Required)

  • Any valid photo identification from List 1 in which the address does not reasonably match the precinct register accompanied by a non-photo identification from List 2 in which the address does reasonably match the precinct register
  • U.S. Passport without address and one valid item from List 2
  • U.S. Military identification without address and one valid item from List 2

What’s a Provisional Ballot and why do I have to vote one?

You will be asked to vote a Provisional Ballot at a Vote Center if your name is not on the register, and if:

  • You have changed your name or address and have not re-registered twenty-nine (29) days prior to an election
  • You did not vote the early ballot you requested
  • You are on the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) and the system shows your ballot is not returned
  • You voted early in person
  • You are not a registered voter in Cochise County
  • You bring your unvoted ballot into the vote center and wish to turn it in and vote in person

Why did I have to vote a “Conditional” Provisional Ballot – what’s the difference?

You will be asked to vote a conditional provisional ballot at the vote center if you fail to show acceptable ID. Your vote will be counted if you bring acceptable ID back to the voting center on Election Day or to the County Recorder’s Office (or designated sites) by:

       5 Business days after the General Election

       3 Business days after any other Election


I had to vote Provisional. Will it count, and how do I determine if my vote was counted?

Yes, every verified provisional ballot is counted. Voters should check the status of their ballot at my.arizona.vote   or they may call the Recorder’s Office at 520-432-8358 to find out the status of your Provisional ballot.

It may take up to 7 days to process this ballot. It will not show up in the system on the day of the election.

I’m disabled – how can I vote?

Accessible Polling Places: All vote centers have been chosen with special needs voters in mind. Each location will provide handicap parking and be able to accommodate individuals in wheelchairs, as well as, individuals with visual or hearing impairments. Oftentimes a temporary modification will be made to the polling location providing easier accessibility for the voter.

Accessible Voting Systems: All vote centers must have an accessible voting device for use by voters with disabilities. These machines can be adjusted for vision difficulty and have headphones to have the ballot read to the voter.  In addition to the accessible voting devices, each poling location will have magnifying instruments, large print versions of the publicity pamphlets and trained poll workers who are ready to assist you.

Curbside Voting: All vote centers in use in Cochise County are fully ADA compliant under Federal law.  As such, disabled voters are welcome into the polling locations to cast their vote and curbside voting isn’t required.  Because there are no pre-printed paper ballots at our vote centers, all voters are required to vote on the electronic machines which are not able to be moved outside, or to the curb, due to the sensitive computer equipment inside the machines. 

Permanent Early Voting: If you have a permanent physical disability, you may request to be placed on the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL). You will be mailed a ballot for each election that you are eligible for and can vote from the comfort and convenience of your own home.

Register to be a permanent early voter at www.servicearizona.com or contact the Recorder’s Office at 520-432-8358.

Is election information available in English and Spanish?

Yes.  All ballots are printed in both languages and the ExpressVote machines can be read or heard in English as well as Spanish – voter chooses the language.

What is a “Vote by Mail” election?

Every qualified elector registered within the boundaries of the jurisdiction having a “Vote By Mail” election will automatically be mailed a ballot.  There are NO Vote Centers on Election Day to vote in person.  Only local elections can be conducted by all mail.  Statewide elections cannot be conducted by all mail.

Your voted ballot must be received by the Recorder’s Office in Bisbee or the jurisdiction no later than 7:00 pm on Election Day.  Ballots may either be mailed or deposited at the drop boxes at the Recorder’s Office in Bisbee or at a drop box of the jurisdiction holding the election.

Replacement ballots are available, starting 27 days prior to the election, at the Recorder’s Office.  Replacement ballots are also available at the designated Replacement Center on Election Day.

Contact the County Recorder’s Office at 520-432-8358 if you have not received your ballot or you need a replacement ballot.

The last day to request a replacement ballot to be mailed is 11 days prior to any election; vote in-person replacement ballots are available until 7:00PM on Election Day.


Why does it take so long to know who won?

Arizona is a no excuse early voting state, and voters have many options on how they can cast a ballot.  In Cochise County, almost 70% of the voters vote early or by mail.  Once those ballots are received, they are processed and counting begins 14 days prior to the election.  They keep being counted as they come in.  On election night, after 8pm, those are the first results you see released.  Then, as the vote centers across the county return results, those are also added. 

Many voters choose to drop off their early ballot instead of returning it ahead of election day.  Those must be processed by hand and the signature verified before they can be counted. That happens the day after election.  Many voters cast a provisional vote, and those also cannot be counted until such time as they are verified.  In the 2018 General election, we had approximately 4000 ballots that couldn’t be counted on election day because they required special handling.  They were processed and counted once verified which can take several days.

Ballots that have write in candidates must also be counted by hand.  Only official write in candidates are tabulated and when people write in candidates that are not official candidates, that also slows the process down considerably.

All of these processes take a little bit of time and are done to ensure that voters can trust the outcome of their elections.  Another reason it takes time to tabulate the ballots is to ensure the security of our elections. It comes as no surprise that the security of our elections is at the top of everybody’s mind right now.  Arizona has made it a top priority to make sure that our critical election infrastructure is secure. Some of these new security measures do slow down the ballot tabulation process.

The duty of election officials is to timely and accurately tabulate results.  Voters must trust the process and the results.  While we want to release results quickly, it’s more important to verify accuracy, security and transparency to our voters.

I’ve decided to run for office, what do I need to know?

First, find out who your filing office is and where they are located. Not all candidates file at the County Elections office. It depends on which elected position you’re interested in:

Federal and State Offices file with the Arizona Secretary of State at azsos.gov

  • Countywide Offices file with the Elections Department in Bisbee
  • Special District Board Offices (Including College District) file with the Elections Department in Bisbee
  • School Board Offices file with the Cochise County School Superintendent located at 100 Clawson Ave, Bisbee, AZ  520-432-8950.

Pull a candidate packet from the website if you are seeking a Countywide, Special or School district Office. The packet contains all the forms and information you need to run for Office.

Countywide Offices are Partisan Elections.  Currently the only Parties recognized in Cochise County are the Republican and Democrat Parties.  Independents may run for Countywide Offices.

Special and School District Board Offices are Non-Partisan elections and any qualified elector in that district may run for Office.

Circulate your petitions and gather signatures.   You must file a Candidate Statement of Interest with the Elections Department prior to collecting signatures. Candidates for Precinct Committeemen do not file this form.

Register your committee (if applicable) by filing a Statement of Organization. You can form a committee at any time. For more information see A.R.S. §16-905.  You do not have to file a committee until such time as you spend or collect, in aggregate, more than $1,200. You must then file a Statement of Organization. You are then required to file quarterly and pre-election Campaign Finance Reports through the election, and once more when the committee terminates.

Refer to the Candidate Handbook for important campaign information.  Election staff cannot give advice or assist in filling out paperwork for candidates seeking office.

Check back on the website for updates and petition signature requirements after January 15 of an election year.

File your paperwork with the appropriate filing office when required.  Terminate your committee (if applicable) after the election.

What is a Partisan Office?

Any office for which a candidate is nominated or elected as representing a recognized Party. All County offices are Partisan.

What is a Non-Partisan Office?

A Non-Partisan Office has NO political affiliation; candidate is eligible based on her/his own merits rather than as a member of a political party. All School and Special Districts are Non-Partisan,

Who can sign my petitions?

Signatures must be obtained from qualified electors who are eligible to vote for the candidate whose nomination petition they are signing.

A qualified elector may only sign one petition for each open seat in the race up for election.  For example, there is only one Office for Sheriff, so a voter may only sign one petition, even though multiple candidates may be running for the seat.

If you are running for a Countywide Partisan Office, signers are registered in the district you are running for, registered with your same political party, or registered “Independents.”

If you are running as an Independent candidate, any qualified elector of any Party recognized in the State may sign your petition.

If you are running for a Special or School District, anyone registered to vote in your district can sign your petitions.

If you are running for a Special District that crosses into another county, you can collect signatures from voters in the other county, but you will want separate petition pages for each County.

If I don't win in the Primary Election, can I run as an independent or write-in in the General Election?

No. If you don’t “win” the Primary, or if you don’t get enough signatures to qualify for the General, you cannot run as a write-in or as an “Independent” candidate in the General Election for that Office.

For more information see A.R.S. §16-312 and A.R.S. §16-341

How do I run as a write-in candidate?

For more information, pull a Write-In Candidate packet from the website for all the forms and details.

Write-in candidates are not required to gather signatures to qualify for the ballot. However, Write-in candidates are still required to form a Committee (if applicable), file a nomination paper and a Financial Disclosure Statement (if applicable).

Only candidates who file before the deadline will be considered “official write-in candidates.” Only official write-in candidates will have their names posted in the Vote Centers and on the website.

Only official write in candidates that have any votes cast for them counted.

A list of write-in candidates is not sent with the early or vote by mail ballots and it is up to the candidates to advertise their candidacy.


How do I challenge a candidate?

To challenge a candidate, you must file a challenge petition in Cochise County Superior Court no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 10th business day after the candidate Nomination Petition submission deadline.

The challenge petition must specifically list the reasons for the challenge. If signatures on a candidate’s Nomination Petitions are being challenged, the challenge must specifically identify the Nomination Petition page and line number for each signature being challenged, and the reasons why the signatures are being challenged. For more information see A.R.S. §16-351 and A.R.S. §16-351.01.

Any candidate in any election can be challenged by any qualified voter for any reason.

How do I get copies of my competitor’s nomination petitions?

Nomination Petitions are available for public inspection and purchase from the Elections Department.

To check the signatures on candidate petitions against the Voter Registration records, you must:

Submit a Public Records Request Form available on the County website.

Purchase copies of the desired candidate’s petitions from our office at $0.30 per page.  Schedule an appointment with the Voter Registration Department for use of their public computer.

If you want to look at another candidate’s petitions and do not want copies, you can do so under direct supervision of Elections Department staff, but you cannot use this option if you want to check the signatures against the Voter Registration records.  You must still submit a public recorder request and schedule an appointment.  Due to limited staff, we are not able to assist walk in requests for any public records requests in the Elections Department.

How can I find out more information on the candidates?

Cochise County does not provide a candidate biography or info pamphlet  The county website will have a list of official candidates with contact information, if info is provided by candidate.

The Arizona Clean Elections Commission provides a list of statewide candidates.  They also have resources on how government works and what each elected Office does  – www.azcleanelections.gov

The Arizona Secretary of State does provide information on candidates seeking federal/state Offices – azsos.gov 

Other resources are local newspapers and radio in your area, along with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  You may also contact the political parties who have information on candidates. 

How do I become a Precinct Committeeman?

Interested in becoming a Precinct Committeeman or need information on duties? Contact your Cochise County Party Chairman:

Republican Party            Robert Montgomery     robmont59@msn.com                      (520) 456-5291

Democrat Party              Elisabeth Tyndall           cochisecodems@gmail.com             (520) 477-9540

Libertarian or Green Party - Contact your State Party Chairman