Election Day - Voting in Arizona

Nov 4th, 2008 | By ffolwell | Category: Latest News

November 4, 2008

By Jed Layton

Phoenix, Arizona—One line was 10 feet long.  The other line was three hours long.  Mitch Quayle was in the long one and not happy about it.

At Laveen Elementary Schoool, Quayle waited in line with wind, dust, heat and allergies.  In between sneezes, Quayle said he did not understand why across the street at Laveen Baptist Church another polling station had a very short line while he was stuck in one that barely moved at all.

“It is silly.  I understand that I love in the wrong part of Laveen to vote there,” he said.  Quayle lives in Laveen working as substitute teacher.  People living on the north side of Laveen voted at the church while those living in the south voted at the school.  “But since so few people are going there, couldn’t they bring volunteers and booths over here to make the line go faster.”

In a historic election, Arizona polling precincts were bursting at the seams throughout the state.  With the economy as the main issue, Arizona voters cast their ballots for their respective candidates.  Arizona is McCain’s home state, giving him an advantage some voters said.

“McCain is our senator.  He has done great things for our state and will do great things for our country,” Velma Button said.  She is from Phoenix and voted for McCain.  “Yes, voting can be a pain sometimes, but it is a sacrifice worth making.  McCain has made a lot of sacrifices for us, voting for him is the least I can do.”

Vic Lopez, a convenience store manager from Laveen, said he had never voted before.  But he was not standing in the long line to cast his ballot for either Sen. John McCain or Sen. Barack Obama.

“I will shortly be voting for Bob Barr,” he said referring to the independent presidential candidate.  “This way I can complain about either candidate after they are elected and make bad decisions.”

Cassandra Knowles, a hair stylist and mother of four, said she came to the polls because of the state elections more than the presidential race.

“I do not think either McCain or obama will help me personally or my community.  But I know the candidates for school board and state senate.  They will make a difference to my kids and me.”

Sharry Verese, the wife of Republican state senate candidate, Michael Veres, explained for most voters saw the issues differently when looking at national and state races.

“At the state level voters know their senators and know who is on the school board and can see the immediate affect when a decision is made,” she said.  “But at the national level, most voters hope the policies the presidential candidates have will make an impact, but are really not sure.”

For most Arizona voters, despite an occasional long line, voting was a simple and easy process.

Mike Andrews, a volunteer with the McCain campaign, said voting in Arizona is 10 times easier than taking a driving test.

“If you have ever taken a driving test or even a personality test you will find voting easy,” he said.

Arizona offers three types of voting, Earl Potter explained.  Potter is a trouble shooter for Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs.  Regular voting, provisional voting and mail voting are available to any voter, he said from the Sunnyslope precinct in northern Phoenix.

“Voters could request a mail-in ballot be sent to them.  Then they could fill it out in their own home at their own time and send it in whenever they wanted,” he said.  Potter has been voting for 40 years and has voted by mail ever since it became available.

I always do mail in ballots. It is much easier than standing in line and going through all of this,” he said.

Gerald Williams, a volunteer with the Republican Party was watching the Sunnyslope precinct to make sure voters did not encounter any trouble.  He explained provisional voting was available for voters who may have accidentally gone to the incorrect poll.

“Say you come here and you trying to vote in the wrong spot you can still vote using a provisional ballot, he said. “No one is ever turned away from the polls.”

From the Republican National Party election night celebration Fran Code said her polling experience in Sun City went smoothly.

“I went right when the doors opened at 6:00 in the morning,” she said.  “There were about 100 people in front of me, but for the most part the line moved fast and I was out of there within an hour.”

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