Prescott primary election season wraps up this week

Turnout already 43%; voters’ ballots are due Tuesday

Mayoral candidates, from left, Mary Beth Hrin, Greg Mengarelli and Jean Wilcox during the Prescott Mayor and City Council Candidate Forum at the Yavapai College Performance Hall Thursday, July 27, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Mayoral candidates, from left, Mary Beth Hrin, Greg Mengarelli and Jean Wilcox during the Prescott Mayor and City Council Candidate Forum at the Yavapai College Performance Hall Thursday, July 27, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

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Mayor candidates, top from left: Mary Beth Hrin, Greg Mengarelli, and Jean Wilcox. Council candidates, middle row from left: Steve Blair, Connie Cantelme, and Phil Goode. Council candidates, bottom row from left: Greg Lazzell, Alexa Scholl, and Joe Viccica.

Every vote counts, it is now too late for mail

It is now too late for voters to mail ballots in. Elections officials say mail has a five-day turnaround.

Remaining options for voters include:

• Using the 24-hour drive-through drop box at the Yavapai County Administration Building, 1015 Fair St.;

• Walking into the Voter Registration Department (during office hours) at the same address; or

• Voting at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St. (also during office hours).

About 43 percent of Prescott voters have already cast their ballots, and remaining voters now have about three days until the deadline.

Yavapai County Registrar of Voters Laurin Custis reported Friday, Aug. 25, that 12,473 ballots had already been accepted and processed for the City of Prescott’s primary.

Just more than 29,000 ballots were mailed out on Aug. 7, and the deadline for voting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29.

The 43-percent return rate to-date is similar to the response two years ago, when about 42 percent of Prescott voters had cast ballots by the Friday before the primary. About 56 percent of Prescott voters ended up voting in the 2015 primary.

Custis stressed Friday that it is now too late for voters to mail ballots in. With a five-day turnaround, mailed ballots would no longer arrive in time to be counted, she said.

Remaining options for voters include: using the 24-hour drive-through drop box at the Yavapai County Administration Building, 1015 Fair St.; walking into the Voter Registration Department (during office hours) at the same address; or voting at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St. (also during office hours).

Voters in the 2017 race have a number of decisions to make. Ballots include three candidates for mayor, and six for the three open City Council seats:

• Mayoral candidates — Mary Beth Hrin, Greg Mengarelli, and Jean Wilcox.

• Council candidates — Steve Blair, Connie Cantelme, Phil Goode, Greg Lazzell, Alexa Scholl, and Joe Viccica.

Prescott’s current mayor, Harry Oberg, announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking another term. Council seats currently held by Wilcox, Blair, and Lazzell are all up for election. The mayor’s term is for two years, while the council terms run four years.

In addition, voters will decide two propositions including:

• Proposition 442 — the city’s bid to extend its Alternate Expenditure Limitation (Home Rule Option) for four more years. The option gives local governments the authority to control their own budgets, rather than adhering to a state-imposed limit.

• Proposition 443 — the ballot measure asking for a 0.75-percent increase in the city’s sales tax to help pay down the more than $78 million in unfunded liability with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS). If approved the tax would take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and would end the earlier of Dec. 31, 2027, or when the city’s PSPRS unfunded liability is $1.5 million or less.

Candidates receiving at least 50 percent of the vote plus one will be elected outright in the primary. A run-off is set for the Nov. 7 general election for any positions that are not filled in the primary. The two top vote-getters for each unfilled position advance to the run-off.