State’s early voting returns may lessen impact of candidate visits

With Tuesday marking Arizona’s presidential preference election, the candidates have flooded to the Grand Canyon State this week in hopes of locking in a win. However, with so many ballots coming in early, those visits may not mean as much as politicians hope.

Of the more than 1.25 million eligible voters in Maricopa County for Tuesday’s election, 464,067 have already submitted their ballots, according to numbers released by Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell.

All of the candidates, except Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, had at least one appearance in the past few days. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was in the Valley on Friday and Sunday. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump held three events in the state on Saturday. Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders held several events and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Phoenix on Monday. Former President Bill Clinton stumped for his wife on Sunday.

But with high early voting numbers, the candidates are focused on those voters who waited.

Les Holland of Phoenix was one of the people who waited for last Tuesday’s primaries, waiting to see who, if any, candidates suspended their campaigns. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the race after losing his home state.

“I don’t think the TV ads or the appearances are going to change much,” Holland said. “Because people have already voted. So this last flurry of candidates coming out here… I think it’s pretty much a waste of their time.”
Purcell said she expects a record turnout for a presidential preference election of “between 60 and 65 percent” in Maricopa County. She said 54 percent of those who requested early ballots have returned them.

“That has been the case for a number of years in Arizona,” Purcell said. “Our voters prefer to vote early so normally it’s up to 80 percent of those who vote in the election will vote by early ballot. I don’t know what exactly it will be in for this election but I assume it’s going to be something similar.”

Arizona Voter RegistrationInfographic

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