Maricopa County Voters Turning Out In Record Numbers During Early Balloting

By Ron Dungan, Hunter Brownstein
Published: Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 6:07pm
Updated: Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 12:23pm

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An early voting center in north Phoenix on Oct. 22, 2020.
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A voting signs at an early voting center in north Phoenix.

Maricopa County voters are turning out in record numbers as they continue to take advantage of early voting.

With about a week left before Election Day, 1.2 million voters have already cast early ballots. That equals the entire early voter turnout for 2016. 

“Maricopa voters like to vote early and this election has been no exception,” Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said. “We are seeing a record number of early ballots returned and the enthusiasm is very exciting. I am so proud of my office and the team at the Elections Department.”

“What the data returns are showing us is that we are seeing historic turnout, and we’re seeing it earlier than we ever have before,” said Megan Gilbertson of the Maricopa County Elections Department. 

Gilbertson says although 80,000 voters cast their ballots in person, most voters took advantage of mail-in ballots or drop boxes as the county phased in voting locations over the last month. 

“The majority of voters who are voting early are returning those ballots from home," Gilbertson said. "Whether that be to drop it off at one of our drop boxes or to put it in the mail and send it back through the USPS.”

Because Election Day is so close, there’s no guarantee that mail-in ballots will be counted. The county will make every effort to count mail-in ballots, including an election-day sweep of post offices, but ballots caught in the mail might get left out, and state law says that actually ballots, not postmarks, are what get counted. At this point, the county recommends that voters use drop boxes or vote in person.

To help keep up with the demand, Maricopa County will be increasing the number of voting centers.

“This week we have around 90, and then we will have on Sunday about 20. But then Monday 150, and then election day 175," said Erika Flores, deputy director of communications at the Maricopa County Elections Department.

Despite a majority of Maricopa County residents voting by mail, 14,000 Maricopa County residents showed up to vote on Monday alone.

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