Voters In Young Lead All Of County In Primary Votes

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Updated August primary election results show voter turnout up near 37 percent countywide, with Young voters holding the distinction of most likely to vote, according to official results released last week.

Nearly 53 percent of Young voters cast ballots, but Whispering Pines, at 47 percent, along with Pine and Strawberry, at 46 percent, also saw higher-than-average turnout.

Payson averaged 42 percent, compared to 38 percent in Globe. Statewide, 30 percent of voters turned out.

San Carlos saw the lowest turnout with just 5 percent of voters casting ballots, followed by Canyon Day with 8 percent.

County Elections Director Linda Eastlick said Gila County has followed a statewide early ballot trend, with more people voting that way each election.

Of the roughly 11,000 ballots casts, 62 percent came from early voters compared to 33 percent at polling places.

Early voters are also more likely to vote. While 23 percent of them mailed ballots, just 12 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls.

People can register to vote in November’s general election until midnight on Oct. 4. The county will mail early ballots on Thursday, Oct. 7. If you want an early ballot, contact the recorder’s office.

This election, some precincts saw a higher-than-average rate of provisional ballots cast, but officials linked the increase to issues with rural address changes.

This election marked the first in which the post office did not deliver mail to highway carrier addresses, which caused confusion in rural areas. People who didn’t change their address with the recorder’s office had to vote provisionally.

Most precincts saw less than 1 percent of registered voters cast provisional ballots. However, Whispering Pines, for instance, saw nearly 11 percent of its voters cast provisionally.

Voters cast provisional ballots if they arrive at the polling place and their ability to vote is questioned. Election officials accept the ballot after verifying the person’s eligibility and ensuring he didn’t cast duplicate ballots. If officials can’t verify the ballot, they don’t count the vote.

Election workers rejected 13 percent of the 593 provisional ballots cast, with inadequate identification accounting for most of the denied ballots. Eastlick said she wasn’t sure how the rejection rate compared to other elections.

Normally, a driver’s license suffices as identification. However, the driver’s license must have the correct address on it.

Voters who don’t have driver’s licenses must bring two forms of identification that list both a voter’s name and address. Passports and military IDs also count.

People should also make sure to register. Unregistered people casting provisional ballots accounted for the second most common reason for rejection.

Eastlick said the primary voting process confused people, with some voters wanting to cast ballots for multiple parties. Primaries just allow parties to pick candidates for the general election.

Independents can pick which party’s primary they want to vote in, except for Libertarians, who close their election to only Libertarians.

“People were coming to the polls and wanting all three ballots,” said Eastlick. “You can’t get all three ballots.” Voters must pick one.

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