Delays at Arizona MVD affecting some who want to vote
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's Motor Vehicle Division has experienced significant backlogs and wait times for callers, including some people trying to get new IDs so they can register to vote.
The division blamed the delays on coronavirus precautions. The agency switched to an appointment-only system with slots scheduled by phone.
Prior to March, the division helped 14,000 people daily in offices across the state. The offices now serve about 5,000 people per day.
"Unfortunately, it is still not clear when the COVID-19 crisis will allow MVD to utilize its full office-processing capacity again," agency spokesman Doug Pacey said in an email to The Arizona Republic. "We know that customers are frustrated about delays and difficulties getting through on the phone. So are we."
The delays are complicating some people's attempts to register to vote through the agency's online registration system ahead of the state's Oct. 5 deadline, the Republic reports. The system allows people to register to vote using the numbers from their driver's licenses or state identification.
The state Department of Health reported 551 new confirmed cases and 19 new confirmed deaths from the coronavirus on Friday. There have been 219,763 confirmed cases and 5,693 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus in the state since the pandemic began.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.