Socorro Carrillo

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Several Arizona voting stations see short lines for special election

Maricopa – Voters moved quickly through the polls today as lines were almost non-existent at several election stations across Arizona.

Tuesday’s special election involved casting ballots on Proposition 123, which would divert state land trust funds to Arizona’s schools, and Proposition 124, which would allow adjustments to the pension fund for public safety workers.

Several voters in Mesa, Maricopa, and downtown Phoenix agreed that Tuesday’s polls were much improved from March’s presidential preference election, when thousands of voters stood in hours-long lines.

“There was not a soul in there when we got into the room,” Dai Dawson said of the voting climate at St. Agnes Church in downtown Phoenix. “It’s very anti-climactic.”

Dawson, a local Democratic activist, was more than pleased with the difference in waiting times. Dawson was one of the many voters who had to experience the long wait times that angered many voters across the state.

Voting lines in the March presidential preference election stretched for hours in Maricopa County. The county opened only 60 polling places in March. On Tuesday, there were 116 polling stations in the county and morning voters were reporting lines averaging less than five minutes.

“Today it was very smooth and straightforward, the way it was today was the way it should always be,” said Sumayyah Dawud, a Phoenix voter and activist.

Voters in Mesa and Maricopa agreed. At Mesa Baptist Church, voters experienced short wait times.

“I just wanted to make sure my vote counted toward these propositions,” said Dolores Benavidez, a Mesa resident.

Maricopa is a town of about 47,000 people and election officials were pleased to see several voters come to the polls as early as 7 a.m.

“It’s been my experience that the electorate generally is not as excited for propositions as they are [for] candidates, “ said Maricopa election judge Ted Yocum.

As for the propositions themselves, Yocum hopes that the outcome of Proposition 123 will produce some kind of sustainability for Arizona’s land trust.

“Both sides of the argument have their pluses and minuses,” said Yocum. He said his concern is that a continual financial dip into the land trust could result in a shortage for future generations.

The polls are open until 7 p.m.