Paul's Note - October 16, 2020

There’s been a lot of national talk about mail-in ballots, but what gets lost in our local discussion is how long we’ve been doing mail-in ballots here in Arizona. Back in the 90’s the requirements were loosened for what were then called absentee ballots. Since then, Arizonans have been voting by mail in large numbers, usually close to 75% of the total vote. The fact that so many voters were voting by mail was among the reasons that Tucson decided to move to an all-mail system for city elections, leaving only a few polling places to staff for so few election day voters. 

This year appears to be no exception. In September, the Pima County Recorder’s office announced that in addition to the 447,774 residents on the Permanent Early Voter List, people have opted to always get their ballot in the mail, an additional 24,943 voters have requested ballots plus another 3,666 ballots will be mailed to voters overseas. That means that here in Pima County, we have a record number of people voting by mail. 

As of Thursday, 29,341 of our fellow Pima County residents have already mailed in their ballots. Although because of our experience with mail-in ballots in Tucson, Pima County and Statewide, we have developed a secure system to deal with running an election this way (Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez put out a video describing the procedures), it’s still weird for a lot of us. Some of us wonder where that ballot goes. 

Well, the Pima County Recorder’s Office now has a way to track your ballot. You can visit https://www.recorder.pima.gov/VoterStats/BallotInfo to check that your ballot was received. It will even give you information on what “batch” it will be counted in. 

Maybe you don’t want to vote by mail, maybe you’d like a way to drop your ballot off. There are two places here in Ward 2 to do that. You can go to the Recorder’s East Side Annex at the corner of Broadway and Kolb (6920 E Broadway, Suite D) or, starting October 19th, the Bear Canyon Library (8959 E Tanque Verde Rd). For a complete list of locations, you can visit https://www.recorder.pima.gov/EarlyVotingSites.

The polls, of course, will still be open on election day. Just remember to get out there and vote. 

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As of yesterday, Oct. 15, Arizona has 228,748 positive coronavirus cases, with 1,113 new cases reported today (up from 902 yesterday). The total number of cases includes people who have recovered. Of that number, 26,727 cases are in Pima County (up 116 from yesterday). There have been 5,789 COVID-19 deaths in Arizona (17 reported today), and 633 of those occurred in Pima County (0 reported today). Meanwhile, the City of Tucson maintains an up-to-date COVID-19 website that includes information for businesses, residents, and more.

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If you are a small business person looking for help during this crisis, the City of Tucson’s Economic Development Office has a variety of resources from utility assistance to help with grants available at Connect Tucson. You can visit their website at https://connecttucson.com/.