Oct 13, 2022 - Politics

A few hundred turnout for Arizona's first day of early voting

A vote here sign with an arrow pointing toward a polling place

A voting center at Tolleson City Hall yesterday morning. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

It was a quiet day at polling places across the Valley on the first day of early voting.

Why it's important: Maricopa County sent out about 1.9 million ballots in the mail Wednesday.

  • Ballots went out to the more than 3.1 million Arizonans who are on the Active Early Voting List, in addition to an unknown number of people who requested one.

State of play: 313 people cast ballots in person at 12 voting centers Wednesday.

  • The number exceeded the 227 who voted in person on the first day in the 2018 midterm election.
  • It fell far short of first-day turnout in 2020 — a presidential election— when about 2,916 people cast ballots. That was more than three times the turnout from day one in 2016, which was 847.

Yes, but: Turnout in midterm elections is typically far lower than in presidential election years.

  • Turnout in Maricopa County hit 80.5% in 2020 and just shy of 80% statewide, the highest since 1980.
  • Maricopa County turnout in 2018 was 60.8%, which was the highest turnout in a midterm since 1982.

State of play: There were no voters at polling places Axios visited in Tolleson and downtown Phoenix on Wednesday morning. As of 9:45, four people had cast ballots at the voting center we visited at Avondale City Hall.

What they're saying: Peoria resident Phil Schlecht tells Axios that he came out to vote on the first day because "we want the right people to win."

  • Schlecht was also motivated by the false allegations that the 2020 election was rigged against Donald Trump, saying, "We're tired of our vote being stolen."

Meanwhile: Avondale resident Fabian Cisneros tells Axios that he voted as early as possible because he doesn't want Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake to win.

  • Anna Maraz, Cisneros' mother, says she is also concerned about Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters' suggestion that Social Security should be privatized. He has since reversed course on the issue.

1 long ballot: The longest ballot in Maricopa County this year belongs to the Sheffield precinct in west Mesa, which has 87 things for voters to decide on, according to Matt Roberts, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department.


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