Arizona residents ease into voting in Tuesday’s primary

PHOENIX – So far, so good. The polls were quiet through most of Tuesday for Arizona’s primary election as voters across the Phoenix area and elsewhere in Arizona cast ballots for their Republican or Democratic choice for Congress, statewide and local offices ranging from the Senate to Maricopa County sheriff.

More than 700 polling places in Maricopa County made in-person voting smooth so far, compared to the slender number of polling places in the presidential preference election in March, when a lack of polling places led to long lines and angry voters.

Long lines kept Phoenix resident Patricia McCuin from voting last March.

Tuesday, she didn’t have any trouble voting at Twin Buttes Baptist Church in south Phoenix.

“It’s been much more pleasant this time around,” she said.

And Richard Smith of Glendale said it took him only five minutes to vote, compared to 90 minutes in March.

“We’ve had no major issues so far,” Elizabeth Bartholomew, spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.

“Six polling places opened a little late because some facility workers hadn’t arrived in time, but it didn’t cause any problems,” she said. Bartholomew estimated those were open within 30 minutes of the 6 a.m. start time for voting.

Polls were relatively slow most of the day, with two of last year’s problem locations in central Phoenix, the Church of the Beatitudes and St. Agnes Parochial School, seeing no problems.

A small number of voters trickled in through the afternoon.

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, D-District 9, thanked voters at the Beatitudes church as they left.

“What I do hope is that regardless of when people decide to vote today, that they’ll be able to get in and out of their polling place to make their choice…and to do so without any kind of hassle or long waits,” Sinema said.

More than 423,000 early ballots have already been delivered in Maricopa County, and Bartholomew expects more to arrive today, including those dropped off at polling sites.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and his wife, Cindy, cast their votes around 8 a.m. at Mountain View Christian Church near 28th Street and Campbell in Phoenix, to the cheers of McCain staffers and the heckling of one lone Kelli Ward supporter.

McCain, a veteran lawmaker who is in a hotly contested race with Ward for the Republican candidacy for U.S. Senate, didn’t take questions from the media but thanked his interns for their hard work during his campaign.

Either McCain or Ward, who are in a five-person race, are expected to face Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, in November.

Dan Saban, former Buckeye police chief and previous candidate for Maricopa County sheriff, is again challenging Sheriff Joe Arpaio in one of the most watched races in the region.

“I don’t want anything to do with Arpaio, he’s a jerk,” said Paul Helmer of Tempe.

But Brenda Kolterman of Phoenix supports Arpaio.

“I’m a firm believer in his immigration policies — it needs to be stopped,” she said. “It’s nothing personal but if these people are coming to our country, they need to come in the right way…we need to get the borders in control and that’s why I voted for him.”

The polls close at 7 p.m.

Reporters Veronica Acosta, Bri Cossavella and Kristiana Faddoul contributed to this story.