Arizona’s battleground counties start tallying early ballots

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With record-breaking voter turnout less than two weeks ahead of the presidential election, counties in Arizona may now begin counting early ballots. 

Although results won’t be officially reported until after polls close on Nov. 3, state law allows workers to start calculating results two weeks before Election Day.

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In Maricopa County ‒ home to the capital city of Phoenix and more than half of the state’s population ‒ the number of voters casting their ballot on the first day of early voting increased astronomically. 

This year, the county saw 2,922 voters cast a ballot in person at the seven early voting sites, while just 847 voters showed up at the same point in 2016, according to news site AZ Family.

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office announced this week that it would start counting the almost 650,000 ballots already received — a sum total the Associated Press reported is about 75% higher than the same time in 2016, a trend fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, with Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump talks to reporters at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, with Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In the southeastern city of Tucson and Pima County, election officials reported almost 200,000 ballots already returned and the state’s other 13 counties have reported counting more than 133,000.

The race for the Copper State is contentious, with Democrats hoping to seize an opportunity to reclaim the Senate and President Trump seeing a chance to lock in a key battleground.

The Trump campaign told Fox News that it’s confident Arizona voters will reject former Vice President Joe Biden’s “record of failure” and his progressive agenda.

“The Trump campaign never left Arizona after 2016, so unlike Joe Biden’s campaign that had no staff in the state until recently, our team knows Arizona issues inside and out,” Deputy National Press Secretary Samantha Zager said. “President Trump has delivered on those issues, including increased border security, freer and fairer trade deals, building the world’s greatest economy, and more.”

Biden has maintained a relatively steady lead in Arizona over the last couple of months and the Real Clear Politics average has him up by just under three percentage points.

Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly has also had the upper hand in the contest against Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally. The Real Clear Politics average shows Kelly up by a margin of more than eight percentage points.

The Senate race has shattered spending records, becoming one of the priciest campaigns in the state’s history.

In an effort to sway Maricopa County’s 2.6 million eligible voters, organizations on both sides are canvassing. Advocacy group Mi Familia Vota told FOX 10 Phoenix that it has approximately 100 workers going door to door.

Mi Familia Vota was one of two organizations that successfully lobbied for an extension of Arizona’s voter registration deadline, though the order by U.S. District Court Judge Steven P. Logan was later overturned

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Within what amounted to a 10-day extension, more than 35,000 new voters registered.

The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 23. The votes must be dropped off by Nov. 3.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News

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