40% of early ballots turned in to county - East Valley Tribune: News

40% of early ballots turned in to county

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Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2008 7:23 pm | Updated: 9:31 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Forty percent of early ballots requested in the East Valley have been turned in to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, ahead of the Sept. 2 primary, according to the latest available official figures.

Voter’s Guide: Find your polling place and search for candidates, http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/section/local/election

Voters get a final chance to cast their ballot Tuesday for federal, state and local contested races.

Karen Osborne, elections director at the county recorder's office, expects a 35 percent to 40percent overall turnout in the primary.

Overall, 43 percent of the nearly 515,000 early ballots requested have been returned in Maricopa County.

This is the first time the permanent early voting list will make its mark in a primary, marking a surge in turnout numbers. That's because those who registered to be on the early ballot list automatically received a ballot, instead of requesting one for a particular election.

"It's going to be huge," Osborne said.

Some of the noteworthy races in the East Valley include the Republican Senate primary between Russell Pearce and Kevin Gibbons. Senate Majority leader Thayer Verschoor is running against Eddie Farnsworth in the District22 Republican primary. In the primary for the 5th Congressional District - in which Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., is the incumbent - Republicans Susan Bitter Smith, Jim Ogsbury and David Schweikert are slugging it out in a bitter race. Mark Anderson, Lee Gentry and Laura Knaperek complete the six Republicans competing in the primary.

Democrats Tim Nelson and Gerald Richard are duking it out in the race for the post of Maricopa County Attorney. The winner takes on Republican incumbent Andrew Thomas in the Nov. 4 general election.

In Pinal County, incumbent Sheriff Chris Vasquez faces fellow Democrat Jayme Valenzuela. Republican Paul Babeu is running unopposed.

Statewide, voter registration figures are up by more than 65,000, to nearly 2.8 million. Secretary of State Jan Brewer attributed the interest in the presidential race to the spiraling numbers.

Arizona has 1,061,591 registered Republicans versus 957,895 registered Democrats. More than 17,000 voters are registered Libertarian.

Sept. 1 being a holiday posed some concern to election officials. Yvonne Reed, spokeswoman at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, hoped that voters took into account the national holiday when mailing their ballots to make sure they're received in time to be eligible for counting.

Voters must turn in, not postmark, early ballots by 7 p.m. Tuesday at any polling place or an early voting location. Those yet to turn in an early ballot can take it with them to vote at a polling site, or they will only be able to vote using a provisional ballot.

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