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The Republic is gathering and analyzing early voting data from Arizona counties and the Secretary of State’s Office. Check back for regular updates and insights on early balloting.
This series was supported by the Pulitzer Center.
Voter guide: Where to drop off your Arizona ballot and how to track it
At 6 a.m. Tuesday, polling centers will open across Arizona and registered voters who have not already returned their ballots will get their final chance to vote in the 2022 midterm elections.
Here’s where early voting stands, based on the data The Republic has so far received from the Secretary of State’s Office and Maricopa and Pima counties.
More than 60% of registered voters have not yet voted. That’s about 2.6 million people.
But most of those potential midterm voters — about 2.1 million people — received an early ballot that they can complete before arriving at the polls to drop it off.
That means, roughly, there are 500,000 registered voters who did not request an early ballot and will need to get one Tuesday at a polling place.
Most of the early ballots that have been returned came from Maricopa County voters. The county accounts for 57% of all early votes. Pima County, which has the second largest share of voters in the state, accounts for 17%.
Despite the high early voting turnout in Maricopa County, more than 1.5 million people could still turn up to vote at the county’s polling centers on Tuesday.
Over the past two weeks, Democrats have held the ballot return advantage in Maricopa County. With today’s data update, the advantage flipped. Republicans now have the ballot return advantage in Maricopa County by more than 1,500 ballots.
Statewide, Democrats’ advantage holds, with a lead of almost 13,000 ballots. Democrats’ ballot advantage is driven by Pima County. There, the party is ahead of Republicans by over 57,000 ballots.
But the last few days have seen Republican voters reduce Democrats’ overall advantage in terms of ballots returned. Last Friday, Democrats were leading ballot returns by over 40,000.
— Kunle Falayi
Since 2020, about 150,000 people have joined the ranks of the Maricopa County electorate, according to voter registration figures from the Secretary of State’s Office.
The county had 2,445,521 active registered voters during the 2020 election. That’s grown to 2,595,272 for the 2022 midterm.
After Maricopa County, Cochise County added the most voters since 2020. More than 4,500 voters have joined Cochise’s electorate as active voters for the midterm election.
But not all counties saw an increase in active registered voters.
The number of active registered voters declined in six Arizona counties during the past two years: Apache, Coconino, La Paz, Mohave, Pima, Pinal and Yuma.
In Pinal, the number of voters decreased by almost 14,000. Mohave County lost almost 12,000 voters.
Statewide, the voter losses outweighed the gains. There are about 130,000 fewer active voters this election cycle compared with 2020.
For the 2020 general election, there were 4,281,152 active voters. This election, the number is 4,152,018.
Independent voters and those affiliated with third parties make up the largest share of active voters. They total 1,441,396 voters. In addition, there are 1,437,823 registered Republicans and 1,272,799 registered Democrats.
Check back on Monday for data updates and more pre-Election Day analysis.
— Kunle Falayi
About half of the 492,724 Pima County voters who requested early ballots have voted, putting it way ahead of Arizona’s other counties in the rate of early returns. The only county that comes close is Maricopa, where one ballot has been returned for every three requested.
Pima voters are known to favor early voting. In the 2020 general election, 87% of all Pima County votes came from early voters. In 2016, three in four voters turned in their ballot early.
Even though Pima’s early voting numbers have not reached the early turnout levels of recent general elections — only 38% of the 630,181 registered voters in the county have voted so far — it is likely that Pima County Election Day queues will be shorter than those in other counties.
Of the 232,705 Pima County residents who have already voted, half are Democrats. Over 50,000 more Democrats have voted in Pima County than Republicans.
Voting precincts within Tucson account for more than 75% of all early votes in Pima County because most of the voters in the county live in the city. But the county had to mail a number of ballots to voters who now reside out of the country. Pima County sent ballots to voters in 40 different countries outside the U.S. Most of those ballots went to voters in the United Kingdom and Mexico. So far, 32 voters have returned ballots from those two countries.
— Kunle Falayi
One Maricopa County voting precinct stands apart from the 934 others in terms of the number of ballots returned so far.
The Pebble Creek precinct in Goodyear has recorded over 4,200 returns, according to data The Republic received Tuesday from Maricopa County.
The precinct with the second-most returns — the Grand precinct in Surprise — has submitted 2,855 ballots.
Only seven other Maricopa County precincts have recorded at least 2,000 early ballots. They are in five cities: Goodyear, Surprise, Scottsdale, Chandler and Cave Creek.
Precincts don’t have equal numbers of voters. When the county revises precinct boundaries, a goal is to keep the number of voters around or below 5,000. Getting in that ballpark “helps to ensure a smooth in person voting experience,” according to the county.
Even though Goodyear’s Pebble Creek precinct has leaped ahead of other precincts in terms of early ballot numbers, the city itself trails 10 Maricopa County municipalities in return numbers. Which, of course, is to be expected because of municipal population differences.
Phoenix, Maricopa County’s most populous city, has returned about 149,500 ballots. Mesa has returned about 68,000 ballots. Goodyear is around 16,000.
Maricopa County has about 2.6 million voters. Roughly one in three voters who requested an early ballot have voted already. The only county with a higher early ballot return rate is Pima. Almost half of all Pima County voters who requested ballots have voted.
— Kunle Falayi
Cochise County is planning to hand count all of its 2022 midterm ballots. Here’s how The Republic’s Mary Jo Pitzl explained it:
“County officials say they want to assuage voter distrust in elections by manually counting the ballots to match against the tally done by tabulation machines. But critics say it’s a ploy to create doubt about the returns, creating a cudgel for election losers to use to challenge election results.”
Regardless of the reason behind the hand count, concerns about election administration may be changing Cochise County voter behavior. Based on early data, it seems unlikely the county will have an early voting rate as high as the 2020 election.
In the 2020 general election, 80% of the 60,983 ballots cast in Cochise County came from early voters, according to Arizona secretary of state records.
So far this election? Fewer than 20% of Cochise County voters who requested an early ballot have voted.
Of the 67,425 Cochise County voters who requested an early ballot, only about 12,000 have voted, with Election Day just a week away.
Republican voters lead in the number of ballots returned in the county, accounting for 4,700 of the ballots cast. Democrats have submitted 4,301 early votes. The rest are from independent voters and people affiliated with other parties.
So, as it now stands in Cochise County, only one in five Republican voters and one in five Democratic voters who requested an early ballot have voted. For independent voters and others, it is about one in seven voters.
In the coming days, more voters in Cochise County will choose to vote early. But there’s a lot of ground to cover if they’re going to match 2020’s early voting rate.
Current registration data from the Secretary of State’s Office shows that Cochise County has nearly 81,400 eligible voters. About 31,700 of them are Republicans, and about 20,700 are Democrats. Independent voters and those affiliated with other parties make up about 29,000 members of the electorate.
— Kunle Falayi
We got a big data update today, including our third weekly update from the Secretary of State’s Office.
The secretary of state data includes early ballot information from all the counties other than Maricopa and Pima. We’re getting direct, more frequent data updates from Maricopa and Pima counties.
With today’s significant update, we now know one in four voters who requested a ballot has voted already. The number of ballots returned is more than 875,000.
The returned ballot gap between the two major parties narrowed with the new statewide data.
Late Friday, after several days where we were just getting data from Maricopa and Pima counties, Democrats had a returned ballot advantage of about 33,000. That gap shrunk by almost 7,000 votes with today’s statewide figures.
To date, the ballot return rate is similar for Democrats and Republicans. Of Democrats who requested early ballots, 30% have already voted. Of Republicans who requested early ballots, 27% have voted so far. For independents and others, the rate of return is 19%.
Pima County has the highest rate of return for voters of both major parties, and Navajo County has the lowest. For both Democrats and Republicans in Pima County, the returned ballot rate is about one in three. In Navajo, it’s roughly one in eight for Democrats and one in nine for Republicans.
Independents and people affiliated with other parties are not returning their ballots as quickly. The highest county-level rate of return for independents and others is in Yavapai, where one in four requested ballots has been returned. The lowest is again in Navajo County, where the rate of return for independents and others is one in 11.
In Maricopa, Arizona’s most populous county, the rate of return is one of the highest in the state. About one in three Maricopa County Democrats and one in four Republicans who requested a ballot have voted.
— Kunle Falayi
Older voters in Maricopa County are driving early voting turnout.
More than three-quarters of early votes in the county so far are from people over 50 even though that part of the population requested just over half of the ballots.
Meanwhile, only 5.5% of Maricopa County voters whose ballots have been received so far — a little more than 10,000 voters — are less than 30 years old. About 16% of ballot requests in Maricopa County have been from people under 30.
Here’s the Democrat-Republican breakdown of this Maricopa County data:
Whether Democrat or Republican, voters over 50 are overrepresented in early ballot returns so far. Voters under 30 are underrepresented in the early vote turnout for both parties.
A quick data update: We realized today there were some duplicates in our data. We’ve cleaned it up and made some adjustments in our prior posts. Most notably, on Oct. 25 we overstated the total number of ballots requested. About 3.5 million ballots have been requested. Democrats and Republicans are about even in the number of requested ballots.
We’ll be back Monday with new data and more analysis.
— Kunle Falayi
Arizona’s early voters are favoring the U.S. Postal Service to return their ballots over other delivery methods, like drop boxes and in-person voting.
The Republic has received ballot return method information from the Secretary of State’s Office for 13 counties. The Republic is getting early voter data from Maricopa and Pima counties directly, and neither is providing ballot return method as a data point.
Outside of Maricopa and Pima counties, 67% of Republican voters, 72% of Democrats and 75% of independent and other voters returned their ballots by mail.
Some Republican leaders have derided voting by mail and attempted to restrict the popular practice. But that hasn’t deterred Republican voters from using the mail, especially in some counties. In Apache and Greenlee counties, more than 80% of Republican voters have used the mail for early ballots. In Coconino and Navajo counties, the share is nearly 100%.
Today’s data addition also shows Democrats continue to expand their returned ballot advantage.
Since yesterday, more than 12,000 additional ballots from Democrats have been added to the figures coming from Maricopa and Pima counties. Registered Republicans submitted about 8,000 ballots since yesterday’s update.
Keep in mind many Republicans are likely waiting till election day to vote and today’s data update does not include information from 13 counties. We’re expecting the secretary of state to provide the next data update about those remaining counties early next week.
Returned votes from other political affiliations, including independents, now tally up to more than 100,000.
— Kunle Falayi
Statewide, one in nine voters who requested a ballot has now voted, but some communities are casting ballots more quickly than others.
One in four Pima County voters who requested ballots has voted. This puts Pima ahead of all other counties in the rate of return.
In comparison, one in 11 voters who requested a ballot has voted in Maricopa County, which has the highest raw request and return numbers because of its large population. Yavapai data shows about one ballot returned for every seven ballots requested, while Mohave’s request-to-return rate is one in 8.
The statewide return advantage remains on the side of Democrats, who increased their margin to over 24,000 ballots. That’s up about 5,000 ballots from the party’s lead on Oct. 25.
Democrats are ahead in the number of returned ballots in seven of Arizona’s 15 counties. Those seven counties include both Maricopa and Pima, which have returned over 75% of all ballots so far, and Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Greenlee and Santa Cruz.
Republicans are leading in returned ballots in the remaining eight counties: Gila, Graham, La Paz, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma. Of ballots returned and accounted for so far in the data reported to The Republic, about 20% came from voters in those eight counties.
Statewide, Republicans have returned one ballot for roughly every nine ballots requested, while Democrats have returned one ballot for every seven ballots requested.
— Kunle Falayi
With two weeks before the Nov. 8 midterm election, more than 3 million ballots have been requested by Arizona registered voters and Democrats have an edge in terms of ballots returned so far — even though more than 60,000 Republicans than Democrats have requested ballots.
More than 365,000 voters have already cast their ballots, according to ballot data acquired by The Republic.
That’s a small fraction of the statewide voter population. Data from the Secretary of State’s Office shows a little more than 4.1 million residents were registered to vote for August’s primary election. A complete count of voters eligible to cast ballots during the 2022 midterm is expected soon from the secretary of state.
Most ballots returned so far are coming from Maricopa and Pima counties. No surprise there, given they’re home to about 75% of the state’s population.
In Pima County, Democrats have voted at about twice the rate as Republicans and other registered voters, including independents. Voters from the county have returned 89,974 ballots: Democrats account for 46,737 ballots, Republicans for 24,192 and other registered voters cast 19,045 ballots.
In Maricopa County, Democrats are about 5,000 returned votes above Republicans. The county’s voters have returned 178,664 ballots: Democrats submitted 71,063, Republicans are responsible for 66,077 and 41,484 come from other voters.
Some Republican leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have repeatedly made false claims about the security of early voting and proclaimed they want to end the practice, which may be depressing early Republican turnout.
Last week, Arizona voters filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice after people filmed them and captured photographs of their license plates as the voters dropped off ballots at Maricopa County’s two outdoor ballot drop box locations.
Voters can also return early ballots by mail or at indoor drop box locations.
— Kunle Falayi
Arizona voting updates: The Republic's analysis of ballot returns, requests for election 2022 – The Arizona Republic
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