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Friday last day to request vote-by-mail ballot in Arizona

The deadline for Arizona voters to request a ballot be sent to them, or to get on the Permanent Early Voting list, is Friday, Oct. 23.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told voters to request their ballot-by-mail to get a general election ballot sent to their home. Early voting in person remains available through Election Day, Nov. 3. About 1.3 million people have already cast their ballots in the state.

"There is still time to request a ballot-by-mail," Hobbs said in a news release. Voters can still submit their information at Arizona.Vote, the state's website. "Oct. 23 is the deadline, voters can submit their request at Arizona Vote, it’s safe and secure." 

The Secretary of State's Office reminded voters that Arizona has "a long history of secure and reliable voting by mail. Many people in Arizona are already registered to vote by mail, allowing them to fill out their ballot from the comfort and safety of their home. "

 "There are more than 3 million voters who have already joined the Permanent Early Voting List in our state," Hobbs said. "They will automatically get a ballot sent to them for elections they qualify for. Additionally, voters can ask to get a ballot mailed to them for specific elections." 

Early voting began on Oct. 7 and voters on the early voting list, or those who requested a mail-in, should return their ballots before Tuesday, Oct. 27—just five days away—to ensure election officials receive the voted ballots back by the deadline of Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.

The Pima County Recorder's office said that on Oct. 7, they mailed 506,457 ballots to voters, and in two subsequent mailings, they sent out another 11,010 ballots. 

The office has received, and turned over for counting, nearly 191,000 ballots by Thursday morning. Among those returned ballots, Democrats comprise about 54 percent, while Republicans are just under 25 percent. Nearly another 20 percent of voters are not linked to a specific party, but are marked other, according to the data from the Recorder's Office.  

Statewide data shows that among Arizona's 4.3 million registered voters, about 1.3 million ballots have returned from several of the state's counties, including Maricopa, Pima and Pinal, representing nearly 31 percent. Among those, about 41 percent are Democrats, while about 29 percent are Republicans. Another 22 percent are considered "other" which includes independents, as well as members of the Green and Libertarian parties. 

The Secretary of State's Office reminds voters that ballots-by-mail come with a First Class postage-paid return envelope. 

"After sealing a ballot in the return envelope, voters must remember to sign and date the envelope, and include a phone number election officials can use to contact the voter if needed," Hobbs said. 

Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez has advised voters to not put a stamp on a mail-in ballot, as that will slow down delivery to election officials, rather than speed it up.

Voters can also return their voted early ballot to their County Recorder’s Office, any official drop-box or drop-off location, or any voting location in their county. Voters casting in-person ballots on Election Day must go to the polling place for their precinct.

"There are in-person early voting sites across the state. The number of locations and hours of operation vary by county, so make sure to find a place that works for you," Hobbs said. "We are encouraging people to make a plan, and to vote early, to help maintain a safe and secure election."

The Pima County Recorder's office has 11 sites for curb-side ballot drop-offs  open Monday through Saturday from October 19 to October 31. Each location is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 3 p.m. on Saturday. On Monday, November 2 some locations will open at 8 a.m. 

The Recorder's office will also continue offering early-voting locations until Friday, October 30, and those same locations will be open on November 2, the day before election day. 

Rodriguez reminded voters to use their early ballots if they have them, and that if they choose not to but rather want to vote in person at the polls, their ballot will be marked as a provisional ballot. That security measure is undertaken to ensure that no one is casting both an early ballot and a second one at the polls.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

The Pima County Recorder's Office operates a drive-up drop-off for ballots at several locations, including East Broadway.