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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
10:57 PM Wed, Nov. 14th

Editorial: For education, pensions: get out and vote today

Every vote counts.

Voter turnout so far in today’s special election is already at 35 percent, Yavapai County Elections Director Lynn Constabile said Monday afternoon, May 16.

And, while Yavapai County regularly leads the state in turnout (often in the 50s), say during a fall General Election, Constabile says she expects final turnout today – early ballots plus those cast at the polls – to be well into the 40s (percentile).

Not bad, considering Yavapai County has 130,260 total registered voters – of which, by the way, all can vote in this special election (unlike the party rules for the Presidential Preference Election). A turnout of more than 40 percent rivals the 49.79 percent turnout (the most in Arizona that election) in May 2010 for then-Gov. Jan Brewer’s three-year sales tax.

That’s the good news.

The not-as-good news is that for the 130,260 voters in Yavapai County, to have 50 percent participation, we would need to see a total of 65,130. “We are still receiving early ballots and counting them,” Constabile said Monday. However, 50 percent turnout would mean another 18,944 voters would go to the polls or turn in their early ballots.

It’s possible; 92,409 early ballots went out, and 46,186 are in, for 49.98 percent (the 35.46 percent turnout is the early returns divided by the total number of voters).

Considering the two ballot measures – Proposition 123 (education funding) and 124 (pension reform) – at least the first one would garner interest of everybody.

And once again, every vote matters.

That’s because Prop 123 involves State Trust Land funds (money from state lands already sold), the settling of a schools-versus-state lawsuit, and our districts getting inflation funding (or not) that the courts have said they deserve.

Can Yavapai County handle the voters today? Yes, Constabile will have 29 polling places open until 7 p.m. throughout the county (if you’re still in line at 7, you do get to vote). In 2014 there were 30 polls; they lost one in Paulden because the prior polling place there was not ADA complaint. She said its equipment is now in Chino Valley, making that center a “super vote center” (regular voting centers have four voting stations, while a “super” has eight – the other “super” center is the Prescott Valley Event Center).

The great news: Yavapai County is set up for registered voters to cast their choices at ANY polling place. That’s right. Call 928-771-3250 for more information.

And, if you still have an early ballot, deliver the completed ballot to the nearest drop box or vote center. “Don’t wait in line, go to the front and hand it to them,” Constabile said, agreeing it’s too late to mail them.

That’s because every vote counts.

At this point I don’t mind what choices you make on your ballot, only that you actually vote. Don’t stay home – get out and make a difference.

Expect returns tonight, first release after 8 p.m. (mostly the count of the early/mail-in ballots). Constabile expects to finish by 11 p.m. Visit dCourier.com for regular updates.