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Want to avoid a visit to the polls and vote early, during October, before the Nov. 3 General Election?

Yes, early voting is safe — whether you trust your ballot to the postal service, or drop it off in person at one of the secure election boxes in Globe, Payson and other locations throughout Gila County, which will be announced next month.

As of today, you have one month left to enroll as a Gila County voter in time to request an early (also known as “absentee”) ballot, if you’re not already signed up — that deadline is Oct. 5, before the election four weeks later. Registering to vote is easy and online in Arizona, sign-up now at www.servicearizona.com. If you want to verify for sure whether you’re still registered, records are also online at www.my.arizona.vote.

On weekdays during business hours you can register in person at the Gila County Recorder’s Offices in Payson or Globe.

For questions about the process or your registration call Gila County Recorder Sadie Bingham and her helpful staff, 928-402-8740.

In addition to various ways the recorder’s office engage voters and go the extra mile to answer questions and assist, social media followers are invited to “Like & Follow” for updates during September and October at facebook.com/gilacountyrecorder.

Gila County has engaged electorate

Last month’s primary shows Gila County had the second-highest voter turnout in the entire state, with 48% of enrolled voters casting ballots. Only Yavapai County had a higher turnout, with 51%.

These statistics, and more, are contained in the comprehensive primary election canvass published and presented by Gila County Elections Director Eric Mariscal last month, subsequently reviewed and ratified by the Board of Supervisors.

Published online in its entirety at gilacountyaz.gov, the politically curious can read that voter turnout was higher for Republicans, with 69.9% of enrolled voters casting ballots — compared to 55.7% of Gila County’s Democrats. Wonder whether a higher percentage of Republicans or Democrats prefer early ballots over voting in person on election day? Answers are all in the 2020 Primary Canvass.

The report also verifies the security of the local election, refuting unfounded claims that voting by mail is vulnerable to voter fraud. Consider the numbers: 13,002 early ballots were counted, of these just 25 were rejected — 11 had signatures that didn’t match the voter’s registration and another 10 were unsigned, rendering them unverifiable and ineligible. Three envelopes were mailed back empty. One ballot was rejected with the reason given as “deceased” (that attention-getter may have deserved an asterisk and accompanying footnote).

Gila County Election Director Eric Mariscal and his team closely scrutinize ballots; provisional ballots get an especially close look. Here again, voter errors caused just a few dozen to be rejected: 18 would-be voters proved ineligible, another 11 showed up at the wrong precinct; two voted for the wrong party. One scrawled an unreadable signature, and another failed to sign the ballot.

Arizona is a key state in Nov. 3 Election

Repeated Grand Canyon State visits over the past few months by the President and Vice President affirm what political analysts say: Arizona is a key state in the 2020 election. Gila County Recorder Sadie Jo Bingham’s courteous staff goes the extra mile to make early voting convenient for rural voters — later this month they will publish early voting sites throughout Gila County, and on the San Carlos and also White Mountain Apache lands.

The overwhelming majority of Gila County voters (69% in fact) agree that it’s safe and secure to vote early, whether via the U.S. Postal Service or in person at the Gila County Recorder’s Office, either during office hours or dropped off in secure election mailboxes stationed outside during October. If you aren’t on the Permanent Early Voter List, enroll today — sign-up conveniently and easily online at arizona.vote, an easily accessible and secure website administered by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. Voters can also request a sign-up form with a call to Gila County Recorder Sadie Jo Bingham and her staff in Payson, 928-474-7139 or Globe, 928-402-8740.

Top five reasons for early voting

1. You’ll receive reminders, and you’re more likely to vote. Signing up for the Permanent Early Voter list really helps those people who have the best intentions and mean to vote, but don’t actually get to the polls.

2. Who wants to stand in line? Especially this year, with the precautions we’re all taking to avoid coronavirus? Even our busiest Gila County polling places don’t have delays or waiting lines like what you’ve seen in news reports from densely populated places such as Maricopa County — but if you vote early or vote by mail, you avoid the polls on election day.

3. Vote at your leisure. Ballots can be long, with complicated propositions, and many candidates to consider — issues you may not have considered until you actually are looking at your ballot such as education funding initiatives and ballot amendments. Wouldn’t you rather take time to read and consider these at your own home?

4. You can still visit the polls in person if you suspect you might have a change of heart or mind — even as late as Election Day. Signing up to receive your early ballot does not mean that you can’t wait until Election Day to vote. You may still bring your vote-by-mail ballot to the precinct where they will officially accept it.

5. You still have the option to drop-off your early ballot at the Recorder’s Office (in Payson or Globe) on Election Day at a polling location.

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