PHOENIX — Arizona’s Primary Election is one week away and in Maricopa County, elections officials believe half of the people expected to vote have already mailed in their ballots.
As people pulled up to the voter drop box at the Maricopa County Elections Office Tuesday, inside, under the watchful eye of Democrat and Republican party observers, dozens of workers were busy verifying signatures and counting votes.
“We have over 390,000 early ballots that have already been returned,” Elections Department Communications Director Megan Gilbertson said. “All have been signature verified, processed by bi-partisan teams and they’re being counted by the people behind me.”
Tuesday was the last day early voters can mail back their ballots and guarantee they’ll be counted by Election Day.
It’s recommended you drop off your early ballot at any one of the 211 voting locations or ballot deposit boxes set up across the county.
Bi-Partisan teams of election workers will pick up the ballots daily.
“So far so good,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said, “We have 1.4-million ballots go out in a timely, accurate manner. We’ve had every voting location open on time and appropriately so far. We are recording positive voting experiences.”
If you are voting at one of the voting locations, the Elections Department is providing felt-tip pens for voters to use because Election Day ballot counting equipment needs to the ink to dry fast.
Slow drying ink, like ballpoint pens, can easily smear inside the ballot counting machine.
The Elections Department says when wet ink from the ballot smears inside the machine, it will not allow the tabulator to count any further ballots until the machine is repaired.
Richer says if you have questions about your ballot contact the Recorder’s Office.
Emails are being answered within three hours.
You can also go online to get voting questions answered and track your ballot.
"Every candidate wants his or her followers to participate at a high level. Hopefully, now we're all pushing towards the same thing for those who want to vote, they can do so easily and safely,” Richer said
Richer said voting totals for the 2022 primary are lagging slightly behind the August 2020 primary.
Richer said he doesn’t know if that indicates less interest this election because it’s not a presidential cycle or if people are holding onto their ballots longer.
His office expects the turnout to be between 30% - 35%.