election signs

Campaign signs are at many intersections as Election Day nears.

According to the Maricopa County Department of Elections, early ballots are being mailed starting Wednesday, Oct. 7.

In-person voting began Oct. 7, through Election Day, Nov. 3.

Registered voters can vote by mail or in person. 

To check early ballot voting status and more, visit recorder.maricopa.gov/elections.

The Nov. 3 election is the final election held between nominees of various parties, as well as nonpartisan races including school board elections, bonds, ballot propositions and initiatives.

While some races are fiercely contested, Legislative District 30 is decidedly unexciting. Robert Meza and Raquel Teran are the only two on the ballot for the two LD 30 House of Representatives positions, and Tony Navarrete is the only name on the ballot for Arizona Senate District 30.

“Because of the need for physical distancing and heightened safety protocols, voting locations may have moved, but we are expanding access through a Vote Center model. Voters may now choose from any voting location, rather than just one assigned location,” said Scott Jarrett, director of Election Day and emergency voting with the Maricopa County Elections Department. 

“These large locations will also be able to check in more voters at a time and are located across the county, including on tribal land and in rural areas to ensure in-person voting continues to be an option for all communities.”

According to the Elections Department, nearly 78% of Maricopa County’s nearly 2.5 million registered voters have already requested a ballot in the mail. 

Voters have the option to return their early ballot by mail by Oct. 27 or drop it off at any Vote Center or secure ballot drop box by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

The Elections Department is also adding new, drive-thru drop boxes in the parking lots of sport stadiums across the county. Voters will be able to return completed ballots in their signed and sealed green affidavit envelope from their vehicles. 

According to the county, trained staff will work at all drive-thru drop boxes and will deliver the sealed envelopes to the Elections Department nightly, tracking the chain of custody and keeping ballots secure. 

Drive-thru drop box locations will be open Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.

Find sites and hours of operation at locations.maricopa.vote.

“Maricopa County has been providing every voter with the option to request a ballot in the mail since 1996. We have layers of oversight to ensure only valid ballots are counted,” said Rey Valenzuela, director of early voting and election services with the Maricopa County Elections Department. “We plan to make sure that no matter what option voters choose, it’s safe, accessible and secure.”

 

School funding

In addition to weighing in on state and national representatives, Glendale voters will decide on school funding.

The Peoria Unified School District is asking for  a continuation of a 13% maintenance and operations (M&O) budget override and a $125 million bond election. According to information provided by PUSD, “If approved, the M&O override continuation would continue to provide $28 million of additional funding each year to fund health care professionals, physical education, arts education, music, chorus and assistant principals on district campuses.”

Voters approved the current 13% override in 2015. But an increase to 15% narrowly failed last fall.

PUSD voters first approved a 10% override in 1996 and renewed overrides in 2001, 2006 and 2012. In 2015, voters approved a 13% override. The authorization lasts for seven years and phases out over the last two years if not renewed or replaced with another voter-approved initiative.

If approved, the override will result in an estimated average annual tax rate of $1.4486 per $100 of limited assessed valuation for residential property owners. The tax rate associated with the district’s existing bond sales and the new $125,255,000 bond authorization would be $1.4781 per $100 of limited assessed valuation for a residential homeowner in the district.

The voters of Glendale Union High School District No. 205 will decide on a $130 million bond.

According to the bond information pamphlet, the $130 million is to be used for at GUHSD for:

• Constructing school buildings.

• Renovating school buildings.

• Purchasing pupil transportation vehicles.

• Acquiring by purchase or lease school lots.

• Improving school grounds.

• Supplying school buildings with furniture, equipment and technology.

 

School boards

In school board races, five candidates will be on the ballot for the Deer Valley Unified School District board and four for the Glendale Elementary School District board. Both districts have three seats open and had one candidate withdraw.

A robust field of nine candidates will fight for three Peoria Unified School District governing board seats. Seven of them participated in a Sept. 21 forum sponsored by the Peoria United Parent Council.

Glendale Union High School District will not have an election, as only three candidates filed for the three seats that are open. LauraArita, Patti JoHussey and Pam Reicks will be appointed to the GUHSD board.

 

Key dates

On Oct. 5, U.S. District Court Judge Steven Logan extended the Arizona voter registration deadline to Oct. 23.

All voting locations will follow strict physical distancing and cleaning guidelines, according to the county.

Oct. 23 is the last day to request a ballot in the mail.

For more information, visit recorder.maricopa.gov/elections.

To check on your voting status, visit recorder.maricopa.gov/beballotready.