Election Day Blog: Many Arizona Races Too Close To Call

Arizona voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes in the general election, while a record number of voters turned in early ballots.

Follow Arizona updates from the day with KJZZ and the Associated Press.

→ 2020 Election Results: National And Arizona Races

12:56 a.m. — Biden Wins Arizona, Flipping State For Dems

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris appear together at Sky Harbor Airport
Los Angeles Times/Pool
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris appear together at Sky Harbor Airport prior to their campaign events in Phoenix on Oct. 8, 2020.

Democrat Joe Biden has won Arizona and its 11 electoral votes, flipping a critical battleground state that Donald Trump won four years ago and that could help determine which candidate wins the presidency.

The victory by Biden was a huge blow to Trump’s chances for reelection. Arizona has backed a Democratic presidential candidate only once in the last 72 years.

Biden’s campaign had focused on Arizona as part of its expanded battleground map through the Sun Belt, citing demographic changes, new residents and realignment away from Republicans among key suburban voters.

Arizona is among the more than half a dozen states that will help determine which candidate gets the 270 electoral votes to capture the White House.

Biden’s massive advantage in campaign cash allowed him to put Trump on defense across the country and work to build an unstoppable lead in the Electoral College.

— Associated Press

12:35 a.m. — Presidential Race Too Close To Call

The Associated Press is not calling the presidential race yet because neither candidate has secured the 270 electoral college votes needed to claim victory.

Republican Donald Trump said, “Frankly, we did win this election” over Democrat Joe Biden and said he would take the election to the Supreme Court. His assertion of victory does not match the results and information currently available to the AP.

At this stage in the race, according to AP counts, Trump has 213 electoral votes while Biden has 225. Trump would need 270 electoral votes to win. Several key states are too early to call, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Michigan.

12:16 a.m. — Democrats Hold Slim Leads In Arizona House, Senate

Arizona State Capitol building
Mark Brodie/KJZZ
The Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix.

This could be the night legislative Democrats in Arizona have been promising for years. But whether either the state House of Representatives or the state Senate turn blue is not yet clear.

As of midnight, Democrats held slim leads in both chambers.

— Katie Campbell

12 a.m. — Arizona 6th District Too Close To Call

David Schweikert and Hiral Tipirneni
Office of Rep. David Schweikert, Hiral for Congress
Rep. David Schweikert and Hiral Tipirneni are running to represent Arizona's 6th Congressional District in 2020.

The race for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District remains too close to call between Republican incumbent David Schweikert and Democrat Hiral Tipirneni.

Speaking on Facebook Live late Tuesday night, Tiperneni said she’s proud of her slight lead but that it’s important to wait until all the votes are in.

“Back in 2018, right, it took several days for several of our now-elected officials to be able to declare victory, and that just means that we have to be patient and we have to wait until every ballot is counted," Tiperneni said.

Tipirneni ended her message with a special thank you to Republicans and Independents for crossing party lines, saying the whole point of politics is to build a broad coalition of support.

— Austin Fast

11:32 p.m. — Early Results: Phoenix Mayor On Path To Reelection 

Phoenix City Council chambers
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Phoenix City Council chambers.

Early results show Phoenix’s mayor on the path to reelection. As of 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Kate Gallego had 64% of the votes counted. 

After the early numbers came out, Gallego told KJZZ: “I want to represent everyone in the city of Phoenix. We rise together and we will work together.” 

In a year defined by COVID-19 and racial and social inequity, Gallego said Phoenix also celebrated business deals. 

"We’ve had some great wins this year including the city of Phoenix’s largest economic development deal in history, which was a semi conductor manufacturing facility."

In addition to choosing a mayor, voters will decide half the city council seats.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night, District 5 Councilwoman Betty Guardado was the only council member to claim victory. 

— Christina Estes

11:13 p.m. — Debbie Lesko Wins Reelection 

Republican Debbie Lesko won reelection to the U.S. House in Arizona's 8th Congressional District, beating Democrat Michael Muscato.

Lesko ran with issues including jobs, the economy and national defense in mind — and released a prepared statement after the victory announcement.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God. I would also like to thank the voters who have, once again, given me the opportunity to represent them in Congress. It is the honor of a lifetime to serve the Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. I look forward to fight every day for the people of the north and West Valley.”

Lesko took office in 2018 in the state’s special election. She was voted into full term later that year. Lesko’s competitor, former professional baseball player and video director Michael Muscato opened a small business in the 8th Congressional District, where he grew up. Muscato worked with issues like gun violence, health care and the environment in mind.

— Heather van Blokland

11:02 p.m. — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel Admitted To Hospital 

allister adel
Allister Adel for County Attorney
Allister Adel

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel was admitted to the hospital earlier this evening, according to a statement from the County Attorney’s Office.

The statement said Adel had experienced a health emergency and the situation was fluid. The statement asked for the community’s thoughts and prayers.

Adel is up for reelection in tonight’s races.

— Katherine Davis-Young

10:42 p.m. — Early Results Favor Democrats

Early returns from Arizona’s election favored Democrats statewide, leaving local Republicans to face the prospect of Arizona becoming a blue state for the first time in 24 years.

Local Republican voter Jermond Ransom said Arizona’s rapid growth and influx of transplants fundamentally changed the state’s dynamic.

“It’s sad, and it looks like they are going to lose Martha McSally. One thing I can say is that Arizona is no longer Arizona. The majority of people in Arizona right now are not from Arizona. Almost everybody out here is from California, Chicago, Minnesota, a lot of traditionally blue states. Arizona is not what it was three or four years ago."

Initial early returns from Arizona show former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of President Trump by about 9 points.

— Scott Bourque

10:36 p.m. — Greg Stanton Reelected To Congress

Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton easily won reelection in Arizona’s 9th District, which runs through north-central Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler. He defeated Republican challenger, Dave Giles, who supports President Donald Trump and the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which Stanton says is lacking.

"I don’t support Donald Trump," Stanton said. "I don’t think he’s the right president. I don’t think he’s going to win this election. But if he does, I will try to find common ground and work with him where I can."

Stanton says record voter turnout is even more remarkable considering that it took place during the coronavirus pandemic. Before entering Congress, Stanton served as Phoenix mayor. During his tenure, Stanton pushed to extend transportation funding and expand light rail in the city.

Heather van Blokland

10:16 p.m. — Kelli Ward Urges Supporters To Keep The Faith

Republican watch party
Scott Bourque/KJZZ
A crowd starts to gather at a Republican watch party in Chandler on Nov. 3, 2020.

Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward spoke to the crowd at the state’s GOP election night watch party in Chandler.

While early returns in Arizona heavily favored Democrats, Ward urged supporters to keep the faith and wait for all the votes to be counted.

"Enthusiasm for President Trump is beyond the pale, and also enthusiasm for Republicans and our policies. I was out at the polls today, how many of you were out at the polls today?" said Ward. "Yes. And did you see the Republicans lined up waiting, not getting out. I’m sure there are still Republicans waiting in line right now," Ward said.

It might still be a few days before close elections in Arizona have final results.

— Scott Bourque

9:57 p.m. — Some Mail-In Ballots In Battleground States Never Marked As Delivered

New postal data shows over three hundred thousand mail-in ballots in battleground states — including Arizona — were never marked as delivered. 

A federal judge in Washington ordered the U.S. Postal Service to sweep processing plants for any missing ballots to get them turned in by Tuesday’s deadline. The Postal Service said its Election Day operations kept it from completing an extra check by the time polls closed.

Randy Perez of the nonprofit Arizona Center for Empowerment said this amounts to voter disenfranchisement in what’s likely to be a close election.

“I worked on campaigns that were decided by 260 votes, 1,000 votes, 1,500 votes — but every single one is precious," said Perez.

The Postal Service has disputed the accuracy of the data. The service says its push for same-day local delivery of ballots meant leaving out processing steps like a final delivery scan.

— Austin Fast

9:37 p.m. — Arizona Voters Return 7 Of 9 U.S. House Members To Congress

The U.S. Capitol
Architect of the Capitol
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Arizona voters returned seven U.S. House incumbents to office by wide margins on Tuesday. But the state’s other two congressional races were too early to call with not enough votes counted.  

Those winning reelection include three incumbents who represent heavily Republican districts and four Democrats who also had a registration edge in their districts. Republicans Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko and Paul Gosar won new two-year terms. Democrats winning reelection included Ann Kirkpatrick, Greg Stanton, Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego. The races for the 1st and 6th districts remained to early to call late Tuesday.

— Associated Press

9:33 p.m. — Early Election Results: Slight Lead In Favor Of Proposition 208

Signs against and for Arizona Proposition 208
Rocio Hernandez and Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Signs against and for Arizona Proposition 208.

Early election results from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office show a slight lead in favor of Proposition 208, a measure that wants to improve school funding by raising taxes on wealthy residents. 

As of 9 p.m., the measure has more than 50% of the votes counted so far. This has Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, and other backers feeling confident. 

— Rocio Hernandez

9:08 p.m. — Arizona Voters Vote To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Signs for and against Proportion 207
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Signs for and against Proposition 207 in north Phoenix.

Arizona has voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a decade after the state legalized medicinal cannabis. 

The measure is a win for Arizona’s marijuana community and businesses.

— Ben Giles

8:54 p.m. — U.S. Expats Closely Following Election Results

Rocky Point election party
Randi Alcott
Nancy Prochaska (right) and her election party guests eat tacos and watch as election results roll in on TV from Prochaska's home in Rocky Point on Nov. 3, 2020.

Many U.S. expats are closely following the election results from south of the border in neighboring Sonora, Mexico.

Nancy Prochaska invited a small group of friends and family to her home in the popular Sonoran beach town Puerto Peñasco, or Rocky Point, to watch the election coverage on TV Tuesday night.

"It’s exciting. I’m totally enjoying everything," Prochaska said with a chuckle.

She has lived in Rocky Point for 50 years, but Prochaska and most of her fellow expats still keep a close eye on U.S. politics, she said. And, their views are as diverse as anywhere else - though all but one of the attendee’s at her party Tuesday night hope to see former Vice President Joe Biden win the election.

Gathered at home with loved ones, eating tacos and watching the votes roll in, she says it’s just like being back in the United States.

"I feel that I’m right there," she said. "And once the results are in, my friends in the casitas next door will be whooping it up just like we're whooping it up!"

— Kendal Blust

8:20 p.m. — USPS Unable To Meet Order To Sweep Mail Plants

The United States Postal Service said it could not meet today’s order from a Washington judge to sweep mail processing plants for undelivered ballots.

Arizona was among the 15 states where a total of 300,000 ballots were never marked as delivered.

The postal service said complying with the judge’s order would have disrupted its Election Day operations. Randy Perez of the nonprofit Arizona Center for Empowerment said even one lost ballot is too many.

“Those are not just Republican or Democratic ballots. Those are our community’s ballots and they want their voices to be counted. The idea that that many ballots across the jurisdictions from that order are just sitting there, waiting to be processed, is voter disenfranchisement. It is a stain on our democracy, and it really hurts my heart," Perez said. 

The judge accepted the post office’s response but set a Wednesday hearing to discuss its lack of compliance with the court order.

— Austin Fast

7:36 p.m. — Relaxed Crowd At Republican Watch Party In Chandler

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: And now we're joined by KJZZ's Scott Bourque, who is in Chandler. Scott, good evening again. What are you up to?

SCOTT BOURQUE: Hello again, Steve.

GOLDSTEIN: So what's happening out in Chandler?

BOURQUE: So I am at the state Republican Party's official election watch party. It's at a couple restaurants and an outdoor plaza in downtown Chandler.

GOLDSTEIN: Obviously, the pandemic has dramatically changed how many people could be out there. How many are you seeing approximately?

BOURQUE: You know, my best guess is a couple of hundred. I don't see a lot of masks, and all the tables in the restaurants are full. But I'd say a few hundred people at least.

GOLDSTEIN: Can you set the tone for us? Is there a lot of enthusiasm, as there typically is on election night, or the fact that it's a limited number — are we seeing a limitation on the enthusiasm as well?

BOURQUE: You know, I can't say this is a spectacularly enthusiastic crowd. I would say it's a relaxed crowd. You know, there's not a lot of loud yelling and, you know, happiness. But there's also not any subdued energy. Everybody's just out here having a good time.

GOLDSTEIN: And obviously, we don't have numbers in from Arizona yet, but obviously, I presume they're watching their TV and finding out certain things. Have you noticed any extra doses of energy based on numbers they may have seen on Fox News or CNN or MSNBC?

BOURQUE: You know, I haven't. There are four TVs on in the restaurant. Two are tuned to CNN, two are tuned to Fox. And everybody's just kind of focused on their meals. There's a couple TV's in front of a bunch of chairs, and it doesn't even really look like anybody's paying attention. I think people are just out here socializing.

GOLDSTEIN: OK. KJZZ's Scott Bourque in Chandler Scott, thank you.

BOURQUE: Thank you, Steve.

— Scott Bourque

6:36 p.m. — Enthusiasm And Lines In Tempe

Voters line up at the Tempe History Museum
Scott Bourque/KJZZ
Voters line up at the Tempe History Museum on Nov. 3, 2020.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: And this is special coverage of election night on KJZZ. I'm Steve Goldstein in Phoenix. Polls close in Arizona in less than half an hour. And our reporter Scott Bourque has been at one particular Tempe polling place this evening and joins us with an update. Scott, good evening.

SCOTT BOURQUE: Good evening, Steve. How are you?

GOLDSTEIN: Going great. So, where specifically are you, and how busy has it been?

BOURQUE: So I am at the Tempe Historical Museum. It's at Rural and Southern. And it has been busy all day. I got here about 2 o'clock this afternoon, and I spoke to some people that have been observing, and they said the line has been out to the parking lot pretty much all day. Wait times about 20, 30 minutes. And I spoke to somebody who is counting, and they said they've had about 2,000 people here to vote all day.

GOLDSTEIN: This has certainly been a very tense time in a very divided country. Have you picked up on any vibe? Any sort of personality of how people are feeling today?

BOURQUE: You know, you wouldn't feel any tension here at all. There's been some live music. There's, you know, there's a brass band playing. There's a person playing on the guitar. Everybody's been friendly. Everybody's been handing out food, talking, laughing. You wouldn't feel any tension here at all, I don't think. 

GOLDSTEIN: Have you had a chance to speak with any voters — obviously, outside that that number of foot distance away from the polls — a chance to get how they're feeling today?

BOURQUE: You know, I've spoken to a few people. Everyone seems to be just ready to come out and cast their vote. You know, I didn't ask anybody who they voted for, but everybody was ready to be out here, vote, make their voice heard. And I just saw somebody walk right past me turning in their green envelope, absentee ballot.

GOLDSTEIN: And obviously, people are able to as long as they're in line before s7 even o'clock. Are you seeing that that steadiness even at 6:36 p.m. now?

BOURQUE: Yes, I'm actually watching people walk up with their either, you know, mail-in ballots to drop off or just getting on line right now. It's about 20 minutes left.

GOLDSTEIN: Scott, do people in any ... pickup in terms of poll observers, as far as people who were there to make sure, in their own sort of way, that things run smoothly?

BOURQUE: You know, I saw a couple of people wearing shirts that said poll observers. They said nonpartisan. I spoke to them. And for the most part, they've just been sitting in lawn chairs outside making sure everything goes smoothly. But it's been very calm here.

GOLDSTEIN: So, Scott, as we wrap up, any other observations based on what you've seen at that particular polling place?

BOURQUE: Just a lot of enthusiasm. Everybody here is ready and excited to vote. That's about it, really.

GOLDSTEIN: So even with all the early ballots, it's great to see some steady activity there in Tempe. That's KJZZ's Scott Bourque. Scott, thanks very much.

BOURQUE: Thanks, Steve.

— Scott Bourque

6:21 p.m. — 'Turnout Is Insane'

Voters in line
Ron Dungan/KJZZ
Voters line up at the Living Word Bible Church in Ahwatukee on Nov. 3, 2020.

Although Arizonans set records for early voting in 2020, large numbers of people cast their ballots on Election Day.

Alexandra O’Rourke helped set up a booth for the Biden campaign at a polling location in Ahwatukee. She says voters lined up early and streamed in throughout the day.

“Turnout is insane. So we’re at a location by the ten, and at this location we’ve had a line as long as five minutes to an hour wait, all day, which has been incredible," said O’Rourke.

The voters came in spite of temperatures in the low to mid-90s.

— Ron Dungan

3:30 p.m. — Plenty Of Voters Go To The Polls

A Trump supporter greets voters
Ron Dungan/KJZZ
A Trump supporter greets voters at the Living Word Bible Church polling location in Ahwatukee on Nov. 3, 2020.

Early voter turnout has reached historic levels in this election. But plenty of voters who hadn’t voted yet went to the polls to cast their ballots in person today.

The line at Living Word Bible Church was out the door by mid-morning as people came to vote in person. The church, which is tucked away on an Ahwatukee side street, saw steady traffic all morning long. Biden and Trump supporters had set up separate tents, and they greeted voters as they drove in and again as they left. Supporters passed out information and water. It was a tailgate atmosphere, without alcohol.

By noon, temperatures were in the high-80s, and only a few people were waiting in line. Jerry Palace said the stakes in this election are high, and he would have voted if it were 200 degrees.

"So I actually had a mail-in ballot, but I made a mistake on it, and I didn’t want to take a chance, so I just came in and voted," Palace said.

Others, like Ebonie Nelson, said that she also felt the stakes were high.

"I just feel like voting is so important, especially this election, so I definitely want to get out and make sure my voice is heard," Nelson said. 

— Ron Dungan

2:37 p.m. — Voters Cast Ballots At Tempe Museum

There’s been a line of voters waiting to cast their ballots in-person at the Tempe History Museum almost all day today.

Loretta O’Connor was staffing a booth with campaign literature for democrats just outside the 75-foot zone. She says the crowds have been steady since the polling station opened.

"I got here to set up just before 6, and there was already a line, very nice and very orderly, all the way stretched out to the parking lot, and it’s been steady like that," O'Connor said. 

Further back in line was Bo Friend, sitting in a lawn chair speaking with voters as they waited. He said he was with the Arizona Republican Party.

“Just kind of out here supporting everyone, giving some water, some bumper stickers, and handing out some good cheer," Friend said. 

The average wait time at the Tempe History Museum has been about twenty minutes all day, making it one of the busier polling places in the valley.

— Scott Bourque

2:28 p.m. — Cochise County Election Official Worried About Misinformation

A Cochise County election official is worried that voters are being deliberately misinformed.

It started with a tweet on Monday from Lisa Marra, the elections director in Cochise County. She said her office was getting dozens of calls from people demanding to know the date and time their ballot was counted, because she tweeted, “the President said if they didn’t get that info to go vote again tomorrow.” As in Election Day.

In a statement, Marra told KJZZ that ballots are secret. Once the recorder verifies the signature, ballots are removed from the envelope, then counted. She said there are many checks and balances in place to ensure that every vote that can be counted is counted.

Marra said the date that should matter to voters is the date when the recorder scans and accepts the ballot.

— Kathy Ritchie

2:15 p.m. — Many Navajo Must Go To Great Lengths To Vote

Jonathan Nez
Navajo Nation
Navajo President Jonathan Nez stands in front of voters at the Shonto Chapter House on Nov. 3, 2020.

Navajos are lining up to vote at chapter houses across the reservation today. And many people have gone to great lengths to get there.

For many Navajo it will take all day just to vote.

"They have to drive many many miles ... could entail hundreds of miles roundtrip. We’re talking about dirt roads. We’re talking about if it’s raining we’re talking about mud," said Manley Begay, who teaches Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University.

Native Americans were denied the right to vote for decades. It wasn’t until Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that all states allowed tribal members to participate.

Still, today Begay says Jim Crow-style tactics often stand in their way. Polling places are far apart. Once people finally get to the polls they’re required to show ID with a mailing address. That’s a problem for rural areas, where streets have no name.

— Laurel Morales

1:07 p.m. — Judge Orders Sweep Of Mail Processing Facilities

A U.S. Post Service box
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A U.S. Post Service box at a post office in Glendale, Arizona.

A judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to sweep for remaining ballots and send them out for delivery. The order impacts Arizona.

Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the Postal Service to sweep processing facilities to “ensure that no ballots have been held up.”

The order applies to cities in Michigan, Texas, Georgia and entire states, including Alabama and Arizona.

This comes days after a federal judge ordered the Postal Service to take “extraordinary measures” to deliver ballots on time to be counted in Wisconsin and around Detroit.

— Kathy Ritchie

11:35 a.m. — Disability Advocacy Group Says Voter Education Is Paying Off

A curbside voting sign
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A curbside voting sign at a polling station at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona, on Nov. 3, 2020.

The Arizona Center For Disability Law spent a lot of time educating election officials about how to best meet the needs of people with disabilities when voting. And today ((ON TUESDAY)), that hard work is paying off.

"We talked about having clear signage, we talked about curbside availability, and how that mechanism would work, making sure that the accessible voting equipment was on the poll workers understood how to use that equipment," said Renaldo Fowler, a senior staff advocate with the Arizona Center For Disability Law.

He said the Center For Disability Law also put in a lot of time educating the disability about their options for voting leading up to Election Day.

— Kathy Ritchie

11:34 a.m. — GOP In Tough Fight To Hold U.S. Senate Seat As Arizona Changes

Mark Kelly and Sen. Martha McSally before the debate
Ben Giles/KJZZ
Mark Kelly and Sen. Martha McSally before the debate in Phoenix on Oct. 6, 2020.

Arizona Republican Martha McSally is trying to hold onto the late John McCain’s former seat in Congress but faces a tough fight from Democrat Mark Kelley in a crucial U.S. Senate contest. Democrats are optimistic that Arizona’s changing demographics and President Donald Trump’s unpopularity among some voters can push retired astronaut Kelly to victory in Tuesday’s election.

No matter who wins, Arizona will have a senator from Tucson for the first time since Democrat Dennis DeConcini left office in 1995.

Kelly has presented himself as an independent voice. McSally has tried to label him as a vote for liberal priorities.

— Associated Press

11:10 a.m. — KJZZ Checks In With NPR's Here & Now

Phoenix Burton Barr Central Library
Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ
Phoenix Burton Barr Central Library, a polling station, on Nov. 3, 2020.

ROBIN YOUNG: I'm Robin Young. It's Here & Now. And it's Election Day. Millions of Americans are expected to add their votes to the record. Over 100 million already cast. Lots of excitement out there. We're touching down around the country. Let's go now to the swing state of Arizona, where Jimmy Jenkins of member station KJZZ is at a polling station in downtown Phenix. So, Jimmy, what is turnout like, and what's the mood there?

JIMMY KENKINS: Hey, Robin, mood is positive. A lot of I've met a lot of first time voters this morning. It's like young people who really wanted that experience of coming out to the polls. We're close to the ASU downtown campus and Phoenix is urban core here where a lot of young folks live. And all of them said they were impressed with how quick the process was. They said they felt safe and we're excited to be here. And all of them Biden voters so far, Robin, that I've spoken with.

YOUNG: Well, but you also have a great, exciting Senate race there with the Republican, Martha McSally, being challenged by the Democrat, Mark Kelly. Are people mentioning that is something that's pulling them to the polls?

JENKINS: Yeah, I think the Senate race is definitely driving turnout. There's also a few big down ballot races that are driving turnout in Maricopa County . ... We have a sheriff's race, a big prosecutor race. Both those offices, some of the biggest in the nation. Both ... houses of our state house are seen to be in play for the Democrats for the first time in a long time. So, state Senate and state rep races are really driving people out, as well as the congressional race.

YOUNG: All right. We have to remember those down ballot races. So, when do you think we can expect to see results from this state? It's such a strongly contested one this year.

JENKINS: Well, we should have close to one 1.6 million early votes counted by 8 p.m. out of 2.6 million ballots cast. But, Robin, you know, it took five days after Election Day to decide our last Senate race. So, election officials here are just urging patience.

YOUNG: Yeah, because that's how it works. We keep counting till every ballot is counted. Jimmy Jenkins of member station KJZZ at a polling station in downtown Phoenix. Thank you.

JENKINS: You're welcome, Robin.

11:06 a.m. — Why Arizona Is A State To Watch Closely On Election Night

Voters at a polling station at Mountainview Park in Scottsdale
Phil Latzmna/KJZZ
Voters at a polling station at Mountainview Park in Scottsdale on Nov. 3, 2020.

Arizona has a long political history of going Republican. It’s the home state of Barry Goldwater, a five-term, conservative senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 1964.

Trump won Arizona in 2016, but it is no longer an ironclad GOP stalwart.

A fast-growing Latino population — politically activated during the past decade by anti-immigrant legislation — plus explosive growth among suburbanites skeptical of Trump has energized Democrats.

In 2018, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema became the first Democrat in three decades to win an U.S. Senate seat. Democrats also won three statewide offices, five of nine congressional seats and made gains in the state legislature that year.

— Associated Press

9:38 a.m. — Phoenix Mayor Expects Smooth Election Day

9:15 a.m. — Yavapai County Recorder Not Expecting Problems At The Polls

LAUREN GILGER: And now let's turn to one rural Arizona county where early voter turnout at all — has also seemed to break records. I caught up with Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman earlier this morning to break down the numbers and find out what she's expecting at the polls today.

LESLIE HOFFMAN: We asked people to vote early, not hold their ballots or if they're going to come in person to come during the early part of the in-person early, early voting period. And they have. The numbers have been unbelievable.

GILGER: So you're seeing a lot of people voting by mail, voting early, etc. How did this compare to past elections, say, 2016, for example?

HOFFMAN: Well, just even in the registration numbers we're up almost 30,000. So that — we always have a high turnout in Yavapai County. And we historically have 84 to 85% turnout for presidential and we're, we're looking at our numbers from 2016 and think that it's very possible that we will exceed that.

GILGER: Yeah. So what do you think this might mean for turnout today. Like, what kind of volume is expected at the polling places on Election Day?

HOFFMAN: I still think we're going to have a lot of people here on Election Day. I know when I got in this morning, there was already a line of people waiting to get in to vote. And so there's still those people who just love to go and vote early in-person. And they're not, they're not hindered by their fear of COVID, and they're willing to come in. And, of course, we're offering masks to those who don't have them. But I still think we're going to see several thousand people in early voting. We do have, 80% of Yavapai County's on the permanent early voter list. So out of the 165,000, that still leaves a lot of people. So I can see still getting at least 25,000 people at the vote centers today.

GILGER: Are you concerned at all about security at polling locations? Are there concerns about poll watchers, et cetera, showing up?

HOFFMAN: No. We've had poll watchers and observers all through early voting, and we have had no problems in — Yavapai County's a kind of a different community. We're very engaged and involved community. I don't anticipate any problems at all other than people just, you know, some may have to wait in line for a little bit. But fortunately, we don't have precinct polling locations. We have vote centers. So even if there is a line, people can go to the next closest place and vote.

GILGER: Is this at all different in a rural county like this? Are they more spread out? Do people have to drive further, take a little more time to get where they need to go to vote?

HOFFMAN: Yes, some of them. But we have so much unpopulated or non-unpopulated area in our county that we still put those vote centers in the most populated, high traffic locations. And we again, we only have 25, but because we have so many people on our permanent early voter list, that has been sufficient. And in Prescott and in Cottonwood, in Prescott Valley, where we have the concentration of people, we have several vote centers there. So even if someone had to drive, they're not going to be driving a long ways.

GILGER: Final question for you then. What are you expecting in terms of results from Yavapai County in terms of counting, right? That's a big question this time around, whether we'll have results today or tonight or tomorrow or a week from now. What are your projections in terms of completing those counts?

HOFFMAN: Well, my projection would be that our first results that will come out just shortly after 8 o'clock — those will be our early votes. So that will be a very high number of ballots already cast in this county. And then, of course, we're going to have to process the early ballots that were dropped off. We call them our late early ballots that are dropped on Election Day, and those still have to go through the verification process. Once the election night ballots are tabulated -- and those are all tabulated, all that can be, except for of course, your provisionals that have to be worked. But those will all be tabulated tonight and into tomorrow morning.

GILGER: All right. That is Leslie Hoffman, Yavapai county recorder joining us this morning for an update on what early voting and voting today looks like there. Leslie, thank you so much for coming on The Show, especially on Election Day. Best of luck.

HOFFMAN: You're very welcome. Thank you for having me on.

9:11 a.m. — Steady Trickle Of Voters At Tucson Polls

A Tucson polling location open in the early morning
Michel Marizco/KJZZ
A Tucson polling location open in the early morning on Nov. 3, 2020.

LAUREN GILGER: And now let's turn to KJZZ's Michel Marizco from our Fronteras Desk in Tucson, where he has been speaking with people at the polls since they first opened very early this morning. Good morning, Michel.

MICHEL MARIZCO: Hey, good morning.

GILGER: So how is it looking at the polls in Tucson this morning? Are they packed?

MARIZCO: A steady trickle, I would say. You know, every single one — I've been to about five different polling locations now, I'm on the south side at the moment. And, you know, there, there's about a dozen or so cars of people coming in. You know, everybody, of course, is social distancing, wearing masks, including the poll observers, the watchers out here. So it's, it's, it's pretty organized.

GILGER: Describe the atmosphere for us. What does it feel like out there? Are people excited, cautious, a little, a little apprehensive, maybe?

MARIZCO: You know, apprehensive is a really good word for it. I was going to say tense. You know, I spoke with several people who, who expressed their own concerns about what the outcome of the presidential election can lead to. So here's Chris and Terri Starks, who I spoke with just before dawn this morning.

TERRI STARKS: It's very crazy.

MARIZCO: How so?

TERRI STARKS: Just the the rallies, the people, the — I don't know, just everything. ... First time I've ever seen it like this, so.

CHRIS STARKS: Yeah, in my lifetime. It's, it's been explosive. It's very, very busy out there.

MARIZCO: And then here's Marcy Natale, who herself was worried.

MARCY NATALE: Regardless of who wins, we should accept it and move on. That's our process.

MARIZCO: But you don't think people will?

NATALE: No, I don't. I don't think either side will. And it makes me disgusted. But it is what it is. And that's why I voted here instead of early voting, because I don't trust it anymore.

MARIZCO: And so, I've, I've been running into this sort of tension — this apprehension all morning. Just people were worried about what the outcomes will, will, will lead to tonight once or at least once this whole thing is settled.

GILGER: Yeah. There's been a lot of talk, as you say, a tense environment. Right? There's been a lot of talk about concerns about voter intimidation at the polls, poll watchers, maybe militias showing up around the country. Have you seen any evidence of that at all at this point?

MARIZCO: No, at least not yet. Like I said, I'm in my fifth polling location since 6 a.m. I haven't seen any, anything of that nature, which, you know, I've, of course, it could be happening elsewhere. I'm going to keep on the move here all throughout the day and be reporting from different polling locations.

GILGER: The other sort of X Factor this time around in this election is, of course, COVID-19. What are you seeing in terms of precautions? Are people masked? Are people being safe? Is it a, is that changing the way this looks than it normally would?

MARIZCO: You know, a few people had said that that poll workers were a little bit nervous themselves because of, because of the virus. But so far, yeah, no, everybody's masked, people are -- you know, there's not there's not really lines out here. So at this point, you know, people are sort of practicing social distancing just by geometry. So, no, at this point, it does not appear to be affecting people voting in person.

GILGER: All right. That is KJZZ's Michel Marizco joining us from the field in Tucson, where he is hitting a lot of polling places today. Michel, thanks so much.

MARIZCO: Hey, thank you.

9:09 a.m. — Trump, Biden Fight Hard For Arizona's 11 Electoral Votes

Donald Trump Joe Biden
Shealah Craighead/White House, U.S. Department of State
Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Election Day polls are open in Arizona, a state where electoral college votes have been a safe bet for Republicans for most presidential elections over the past seven decades. But not in 2020. Arizona is a swing state for the first time in memory and has been lavished with attention by President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Democrats pin their hopes on Arizona’s changing demographics and the swing voters who split their tickets two years ago to elect a Republican governor and a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. Trump and his allies made an aggressive push to hold a state that Trump won by 3.5 percentage points in 2016.

— Associated Press

9:06 a.m. — 1.6 Million Ballots Cast In Maricopa County Already

Maricopa County Elections Department opening envelopes
Ben Giles/KJZZ
Maricopa County election workers process early ballots by removing them from ballot envelopes to prep ballots for counting.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: This divisive election has finally arrived. And while the importance of today is perhaps inflated this year more than others, officials are watching the polls carefully. The presidential election, among others, will not be decided tonight — that's more certain than the results themselves. And millions of ballots have already been cast. More than 1.6 million ballots have been cast in Maricopa County already, with Republicans holding a slight lead over Democrats.

LAUREN GILGER: Doubt has been cast on our voting systems and are building between the parties supporters, especially those on the far sides of the political spectrum. That's led officials across the country bracing for trouble at the polls. Gov. Doug Ducey was asked about the possibility at his most recent press conference last week.

DOUG DUCEY: It's our hope and expectation that there will not be civil unrest. That we'll have a peaceful outcome, and while it may take some time to figure out exactly where all the chips fall, that would be the expectation.

GILGER: And when asked specifically about the National Guard's role, he cautioned the Guard will be ready if uncertainty turns to unrest.

DUCEY: [We] are planning and hope would be that we're not gonna have civil unrest. But if we do, the National Guard's at the ready. And we won't hesitate to call them out.

GOLDSTEIN: Ducey's role today will be fairly limited, though. County elections officials are no doubt in high gear as is the secretary of state's office. And KJZZ's Ben Giles talk with Secretary Katie Hobbs yesterday and joins us now. Ben, happy Election Day.

BEN GILES: Thank God it's here.

GOLDSTEIN: So what did Hobbs have to say about the last day of voting?

GILES: She wanted people to know there are still plenty of options to vote today. But she also stressed that it's really important still to make a plan. We're in the middle of a pandemic, so Hobbs emphasized, be safe at the polls. And that means wear a mask. She suggested a BYOP policy —that's 'bring your own pen.' And she also hopes that since 2.6 million people had already voted as of Monday, that maybe lines won't be so long.

KATIE HOBBS: I think we've put such emphasis on early voting and so many folks have already early voted, I hope nobody has that experience. But certainly anyone who's there by, by that closing at seven o'clock is going to be able to to vote.

GOLDSTEIN: And Ben, people are going to be eager to get results. And a part of Hobbs's duty is to post results after polls are closed. What is the plan there?

GILES: So there should be an initial wave of results posted at 8 p.m. tonight — an hour after election. Those are, those are early ballots. Those are votes that were cast before today. And then officials, officials will spend the rest of the night -- they're going to count the Election Day ballots, votes that were cast in-person today. But remember, it doesn't end tonight. There's those late earlies we hear about in Arizona often. That's the people who drop off their early ballots today. Those ballots must be signature-verified and counted. There's also provisional ballots, too.

HOBBS: It's really important to remember that the election isn't over when the polls close, and that we never, ever, ever have final results on election night. We are going to make sure that we count every valid vote and that takes time and it will be completed on Tuesday night.

GILGER: Unfortunately, it's not really all about Arizona today. Former Vice President Joe Biden could be the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since Bill Clinton. He's looking for upsets in other key battleground states as well to hold on to a slim lead over President [Donald] Trump. On the national stage, disputes over the presidential results are more likely to play out in the courts than out on the streets. Election law experts joined the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University last week to discuss some of their concerns. And Rick Hasen of the University of California, Irvine, explained, this cycle is so unusual because the election itself is an election issue.

GOLDSTEIN: Hasen and his colleagues urge voters to repeat these Election Day prayers: That the presidential race is not close, that we did not see Bush v. Gore 2.0 and that it does not come down to Pennsylvania.

RICK HASEN: So much of what is seen as voter suppression or an attempt to rig the vote is pure incompetence. And there's just so much incompetence in Pennsylvania. If we do get into this razor-thin election, it's going to be worse than Florida because everyone's practiced in the 20 years since Florida. That's why, you know, for the sake of the country, it cannot come down to Pennsylvania. If it comes down to the state of Pennsylvania's Electoral College votes, it better be a blowout one way or the other.

GILGER: While politicos can dream, right, Steve?

GOLDSTEIN: Yes, indeed. And Lisa Manheim of the University of Washington School of Law suggested not paying much attention tonight at all.

LISA MANHEIM: My job requires me to be following what's going on in Election Day. But if my job did not require me to do that, I personally would not be following what's going on Election Day at all. I would take the day off and go to the hills. But I suspect that all of us on the call would probably like to do that right now.

GOLDSTEIN: And that does sound nice to some, but we'll be right here on KJZZ [to] provide full Arizona election coverage tonight. That begins at 8 p.m. And please follow along as well online at KJZZ.org.

7:32 a.m. — 2 Of Arizona's 9 House Races Could Turn Into Nailbiters

David Schweikert and Hiral Tipirneni
Office of Rep. David Schweikert, Hiral for Congress
Rep. David Schweikert and Hiral Tipirneni are running to represent Arizona's 6th Congressional District in 2020.

Voters can expect a few nail-biters with nine members of Arizona’s U.S. House delegation up for reelection on Tuesday’s ballot.

For the first time in a decade, Arizona Democrats have a realistic shot at winning one of four solidly Republican U.S. House districts. Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni is challenging five-term Republican Rep. David Schweikert in the suburban 6th District that takes in much of north Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.

Democrats also are on guard in the 1st District, where incumbent Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran faces a spirited challenge from Eloy farmer Tiffany Shedd. Chances appear slim for other districts to be flipped.

— Associated Press

6 a.m. — Hobbs To Arizona Voters: Make A Plan, Stay Patient On Election Day

Voters line up at a polling station
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Voters line up at a polling station at an Arizona Motor Vehicle Division office in north Phoenix on Nov. 3, 2020.

Polls across Arizona open at 6 a.m. this morning. Election Day is finally here.

If you’ve waited until the last minute to cast your ballot, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs says there are still plenty of options to vote, but encourages Arizonans to make a plan.

"In addition to being prepared, be patient,” she said. “Things are different for all of us this year, your polling location probably changed. Poll workers are doing everything they can to make sure that your voting experience is safe. So please bring patience with you as well.”

In Maricopa County, election officials opened up 175 universal voting centers. Any registered voter can cast a ballot at any voting center. There’s also 14 drive-through sites for those who want to drop off their early ballot.

As of Monday, 2.6 million people have already voted in Arizona. Hobbs said she hopes strong early turnout will mean short lines at polls.

Polls close at 7 p.m. Anyone in line by then will be able to cast their ballot.

After that, Hobbs urged poll watchers to continue to be patient.

“It's really important to remember that the election isn't over when the polls close, and that we never, ever, ever have final results on election night,” Hobbs said. “We are going to make sure that we count every valid vote, and that takes time. And it won’t be completed on Tuesday night.”

— Ben Giles

Map: Early Voting And Ballot Drop-Off Locations In Maricopa County

Click the arrow in the upper left corner of the map to see the type of location. Note that start dates and hours of operation vary by location. To search for location by home address and verify operating hours, visit recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace.

5 a.m. — Arizona Law Enforcement Agencies, Ducey Hoping For Peaceful Polling Sites

Mesa Police Department headquarters.
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Mesa Police Department headquarters.

Law enforcement agencies across Arizona are on the lookout for any intimidation and violence at polling locations on Election Day.

Mesa police Detective Nik Rasheda said the department has been working with local and state public safety partners to monitor and gather intelligence.

“We have not received any credible threats currently, but on Election Day we will be prepared to protect and serve all the voters out there. Meanwhile, we’re hoping everyone has a good Election Day and is able to go voice their vote in a safe and peaceful way,” he said.

Gov. Ducey has ordered the Arizona National Guard to be on standby to address any possible civil unrest, but has repeatedly said he doesn’t expect any violence.

KJZZ has created a map of voter locations in Maricopa County.

— Tom Maxedon

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