More Than 15 Percent Of Election Ballots Cast Already

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Just four days after early ballots hit the mail, more than 15 percent of voters had returned ballots to the recorder’s office a month before the Nov. 4 general election.

As of Wednesday, 1,676 ballots had been returned out of the 10,853 mailed Oct. 4, said County Recorder Sadie Dalton.

The number of new voters continues to rise. As of October, Gila County had 30,947 registered voters.

From Aug. 4 to Oct. 6, 1,189 new voters registered, the majority Republican. There are 495 new Republicans, 328 Democrats, five Libertarians, 158 Independents and 191 with no party.

Dalton said the number of new voters and ballots requested is high compared with four years ago.

In 2004, 8,942 people requested early ballots with 8,314 returned.

Dalton said a presidential election year always increases the number of ballots requested. In 2006, a nonpresidential election year, voters requested only 3,191 early ballots.

In February, the permanent list of voters by mail debuted during the presidential primary election. The high number of returns for the primary election attests to its popularity with voters who no longer A new addition this year to the secretary of state Jan Brewer’s Web site, is a virtual town hall where voters can view streaming videos about the propositions.

Head to www.azsos.gov and click on the link for 2008 ballot measures virtual town hall.

An official at the recorder’s office said this is a new way for voters to learn about the propositions instead of reading about them.

The eight propositions vary from legislative salaries, payday loans to gay marriage. This is a break down of the propositions from the secretary of state’s Web site.

Propositions

Proposition 100, Protect Our Homes: Prohibits any new tax or fee on the sale or purchase of real estate after Dec. 31, 2007. Voting no will keep the current law in place, which allows taxes on sales.

Proposition 101, Medical Choice for America: Prohibits any law that restricts a person’s choice of private health care, interferes with a person’s right to pay for lawful medical services or impose a fine if a person chooses to decline health care coverage.

Proposition 101, Marriage Amendment: A yes vote will amend the Arizona constitution to include a definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It also maintains the current Arizona law that prohibits marriage between people of the same sex. A no vote also maintains the current law, but does not amend the constitution.

Proposition 105, Majority Rules: A yes vote will require the majority of registered voters to approve any initiative measure, establishing, imposing, or raising a tax fee, or other revenue, or mandating a spending obligation, whether a private person, labor organization, other private legal entities, or the state, in order to become a law.

Current law requires a vote by a majority of people actively voting.

Proposition 200, Payday Loan Reform Act: A yes vote could repeal the July 1, 2010, termination date for the existing payday loan license program, allowing it to continue indefinitely.

Proposition 201, Homeowners Bill of Rights: A yes vote will grant prospective buyers a right to sue concerning problems with their house despite alternative dispute resolution provisions in sales contracts.

Proposition 202, Stop Illegal Hiring: A yes vote will modify the law covering employers who knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized immigrants. The law would suspend or revoke licensees of businesses that employ unauthorized immigrants and add for not reporting cash wages. It would increase penalties for identity theft related to employment.

Proposition 300, Legislative Salary Increase: A yes vote will raise the state legislators’ salaries to $30,000 per year from $24,000.

Candidates

Candidates for Gila County Supervisor in District 1 include Republican incumbent Tommie Martin and Independent Dan Haapala.

The race for Gila County Supervisor District 3 pits incumbent and Democrat Shirley Dawson against Republican David Cook and the non-partisan Ted Thayer.

For county superintendent of schools, Democrat Debra Tapia-Blair challenges incumbent and Republican Linda O’Dell.

Four people have filed to run for three Payson School Board seats. Candidates include Richard Meyer Jr., Barbara Underwood, Matthew Van Camp and Buzz Walker.

Voters will also decide whether to continue Payson’s $1.4 million maintenance and operations budget override.

In state races, Democrat and Holbrook resident Bill Jeffers is vying for Republican and Snowflake resident Sylvia Allen’s state senate seat.

In the race for the state house seat, Payson’s Barbara Brewer, a Republican, is competing against Democrat and St. Johns incumbent Jack Brown and Republican and Safford incumbent Bill Konopnicki. Two will be elected.

The U.S. congressional race features four contenders. Democrat and Flagstaff resident Ann Kirkpatrick faces Independent and Sedona resident Brent Maupin, Libertarian and Phoenix resident Thane Eichenauer and Republican and Munds Park resident Sydney Hay. Incumbent Rep. Rick Renzi is not running.

Eight candidates will appear on the ballot for the presidential election. They are Democrat Barack Obama, Republican John McCain, Green Cynthia McKinney, Libertarian Bob Barr, and write-ins Jonathan Allen of Colorado, Chuck Baldwin of Florida, Jay Charles of Florida, Ralph Nader of Washington, D.C.

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