Arizona Election 2020: Live Updates

Tom Carlson

We'll be updating this post throughout the day with election-related news from Phoenix and beyond.

11:23 p.m. Megan Gilbertson, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department, said they have counted 1.4 million early ballots and 25,000 ballots that were cast in-person today.

The recorder's office is still waiting for results from 167,000 in-person ballots, 248,000 uncounted early ballots, and 10,000 provisional ballots, as well as an unknown number of early ballots that were dropped off today.

Results will continue to be updated through the night as more voting centers report their results, Gilbertson said.

10:30 p.m. Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel has been rushed to the hospital for a health emergency, 12 News is reporting.

"This situation is fluid and there is limited information to share," Adel's spokeswoman said in a statement.

Adel's locked in a tight race to defend her seat against Democrat Julie Gunnigle.

10 p.m. Fox News has called Arizona for Biden ... but nobody else has.

"The Fox News Decision Desk can now project that former Vice President Joe Biden will win the state of Arizona, dramatically narrowing the president’s pathway to reelection," the news network reported.

AP hasn't chimed in, nor has anybody else.

The Fox announcement drew quick condemnation from Trump campaign senior advisor Jason Miller, who tweeted, "WAY too soon to be calling Arizona...way too soon. We believe over 2/3 of those outstanding Election Day voters are going to be for Trump. Can’t believe Fox was so anxious to pull the trigger here after taking so long to call Florida. Wow."

AZ GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward ain't buying it, either:

Nor is Governor Doug Ducey.

"It’s far too early to call the election in Arizona," Ducey tweeted. "Election Day votes are not fully reported, and we haven’t even started to count early ballots dropped off at the polls. In AZ, we protected Election Day. Let’s count the votes — all the votes — before making declarations."

We wait and see...

8:41 p.m. Maricopa County Justice of the Peace candidate Michael Irish, who as New Times reported a few weeks ago has used racial slurs against Black people in texts, is losing his race by a fairly hefty margin so far.

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Maricopa County Elections Department

8:16 p.m. Arizona's cannabis industry association celebrated an early victory after initial results came in showing the legal marijuana initiative ahead in preliminary results.

People at the MITA Zoom watch party chanted "We love weed!" and popped bottles of champagne after initial results showed the initiative up 60 percent.

Sam Richard, the executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association, cautioned patience.

"I would much rather see this than the opposite," he said, while noting that he wanted to see more ballots.

The Secretary of State's website shows only 3 percent of precincts reporting.

7 p.m. Polls are closed. If you're in line, stay in line. We should start to see results come in around 8 p.m. or so. We recommend taking a short walk. It's a comfortable 83 degrees. 

6:50 p.m. It appears Navajo Nation has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court of Apache County seeking to keep two polling places open an extra hour, citing as its cause the fact that they opened an hour late.

2:45 p.m., North Scottsdale: The Scottsdale Worship Center on the corner of Cactus Road and 64th Street is deep in the heart of Republican country, as evidenced by the wealth of campaign signs for nothing but GOP candidates clustered near the church’s driveway.

Nearby, a rented U-Haul van was covered with large signs bearing the face of Scottsdale mayoral candidate Lisa Borowsky. Up the street was a black pickup truck featuring handpainted slogans for Jana Jackson, the Republican running for Arizona House District 28.

Over along Cactus Road, Kate Angelos and Lucy DiGrazia of Scottsdale were busy showing their support for President Donald Trump — and having a ball doing so. As tunes by Kristene DiMarco and other Christian artists played on a personal Bluetooth speaker, the pair, who are both running for seats on Scottsdale school boards, solicited support from passing cars.

Angelos waved a giant blue flag with the phrase “Trump 2020: No More Bullshit” printed on it. Meanwhile, DiGrazia, clad in a pair of American flag tights, held up a handmade sign that said, “GOD WINS.”

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Kate Angelos of Scottsdale waves a Trump 2020 flag along Cactus Road.
Benjamin Leatherman

The two earned honks of support from numerous cars zooming by, including those headed to vote at the Scottsdale Worship Center. “This has been getting a lot of love from people,” Angelos said. “It’s like they’re saying to us, ‘Let’s go Trump! Let’s go Trump!’ It’s beautiful.”

Did they think the president is going to win both Arizona and re-election today?

“Of course we do,” Angelos said. “We’re total believers.”

3:30 p.m., Tolleson. The line to vote at Tolleson City Hall is directly next to a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. But that didn't bother Maria Ruiz, who was standing in a spaced-out line just before 3 p.m. along with another 20 or so people.

"I work in the medical field, so I don't really mind," said Ruiz, 35, who was wearing scrubs. She's a regular voter and her work gave her the time off to come vote, but voting this year felt especially important.

"You feel that obligation," said Ruiz. She didn't say who she was voting for.

Voters wearing work clothes could be seen coming and going from the poll, both to vote in person and drop off ballots. Briana, 24, didn't want to give her last name. She lives in Mesa but was stopping by after her shift at an Amazon warehouse to drop off her ballot. This was her first time voting, despite her best efforts in other years.

"This year I kind of made it mandatory for me," she said. She's voting for Biden, based on everything going on and the commercials she's been seeing on TV. It took her "less than two seconds" to drop off her ballot.

For Geoffrey Wingo, 30, a Republican Trump voter wearing his uniform from the food service company where he works, the in-person voting process took a bit longer — 15 minutes, standing in an unshaded line under a hot afternoon sun. John Spratlin, 22, another Trump voter, had voted earlier in the day at Glendale Community College's north campus and was waiting for his girlfriend to finish up. This was his first time voting in Arizona after moving from Tennessee and it was "kind of nerve-wracking" not knowing what would happen, he said. Now that he had voted, it was just up to people to "do their duty," he said.

Spratlin said some see Trump as a "king" or their personal savior, but his vote was purely about the issues.

"My only savior is Jesus Christ," said Spratlin. He supports Trump based on the Second Amendment and opposing abortion.

Abortion was a key issue for Tiara Ortizz, 22, who said the main reason she was voting for Biden was that she was "pro-choice," although she also thought Biden had a better response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Ortizz just became a U.S. citizen last year and said she almost didn't vote for Biden because she thinks Trump is better on the Second Amendment, and things haven't been that bad the last four years. Also, she's been hearing conspiracy theories that Democrats are behind COVID-19 and it will go away after the election.

"That's literally all I hear," she said.

1 p.m., Glendale. There had been a rush around 11 a.m. at the Glendale Community College student union that caused a line for around an hour, but things had calmed down since, said Yvonne Meyers, who'd been there since 10 a.m. Meyers was working for a liberal group, Campaign Industries, that was paying her to ask voters to text three friends and ask them to vote.

Strapping her kid into the backseat of her truck, Linda Cancinos, 26, said she'd come out to vote because she felt the tug of history. She was supporting Trump, she said, because he was "more wiser" than Biden on COVID-19 and other issues. "He can't focus on just one thing," she said of Biden.

Christina Eason said it only took 10 to 15 minutes to vote, and she voted for Biden. It was her first time voting. She was sitting on the curb, waiting for her friend Marcus who was being cited by campus police for assault.
That was another story. A distraught Marcus said he and his friends were walking out after voting when a man yelled, "That's why y'all can't breathe" at them — to which Marcus yelled back "Eat my ass!"

According to Marcus, the man came over to confront him and was yelling in his face and getting spit on him, so Marcus pushed him away.

When that happened, the man went from yelling "let's fight" to calling for the police, said another of Marcus' friends. At this point, campus police arrived and told Marcus that he could contest the charge but would need to leave the campus, which he and his friends did.

When asked if there had been many incidents like this, a campus officer shook her head.

Near the entrance wearing a Trump hat was David Romesburg. He was sitting at a table distributing fliers for the "Arizona Patriot Party." The fliers featured two colonial-era people holding a pump-action shotgun and an assault-style rifle (hers and his, respectively) and called for true conservatives to break away from the Republican Party.

"We must stop supporting the 2-party Uni-party system it is broken and leading us to tyranny," the glossy flier read. "Just look at the Masks and Forced Vaccination attempts." Romesburg's companion said that they'd received 40 signups already.

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Derek Vernon in Glendale.
Erasmus Baxter

Derek Vernon said voting went fine. The 59-year-old father was voting while his kid was at school.
"You're in and out real fast," he said.

Vernon added that he appreciated that the new voter center model meant he didn't have to go to a specific polling place. As a Democrat, he voted for Biden, but his focus was "on issues of the state" and he's more interested in what happens with the U.S. Senate and House than the presidency, he said.

"How can they have a new idea?" he asked of legislators in their 70s and 80s, attributing their conflict to clashing over old ideas.

"The young people should be running the country," he said.

3 p.m, Phoenix. Staff with Mi Familia Vota, a national Latino voter mobilization organization, and other local progressive organizations say they’ve received reports of local Latino voters being targeted with Spanish-language robocalls on Election Day that feature misleading information about how to vote.

“There have been reported misleading robocalls happening in Arizona,” Eduardo Sainz, Arizona state director for Mi Familia Vota, said at an afternoon press conference today, calling the calls "a tactic to suppress our vote."

When pressed by reporters, Emily Kirkland, executive director of Progress Arizona, wouldn't provide specific details about the contents of the robocalls, citing a desire to not repeat “false information.” But she did say that the calls include “misleading information about the timing of the election, when it’s possible to vote, and general messages that encourage people to stay home.”

Sainz said that Mi Familia Vota has received reports of Arizona voters receiving the robocalls from a “trusted source among our community.”

Voters across the country received robocalls and automated texts today encouraging them to stay home, according to a Washington Post story published today. The FBI has opened an investigation into robocalls and texts received by voters in Michigan, a Midwest battleground state.

"If you are in line, or you have a plan to go to the polls, which we hope you do, we want to encourage you to continue to do that," State Representative Reginald Bolding, a Democrat who represents south Phoenix, said at the press conference.

While it is too late to submit ballots through the mail, voters have until 7 p.m. today to vote in person or drop off a mail-in ballot. Here’s a list of voting centers in Maricopa County.

2:30 p.m., Phoenix.
Lori Hashimoto, chef and co-owner of Hana Japanese Eatery, and Danielle Leoni, chef and co-owner of The Breadfruit, were set up under a tent outside the polling place at Camelback Center around lunchtime. As voters exited, the two chefs (and members of their teams) passed out cups of spicy shrimp ceviche and bags of Tonjiru, slow-cooked pork shoulder soup. Every now and then, somebody'd run a bag over to a car window.

It was all part of Chefs for the Polls, a nationwide nonpartisan effort that finds Valley chefs, restaurant staff, and volunteers distributing food at eight local polling stations, including this lively spot at 17th Avenue and Camelback Road.

“We are an industry of diversity,” said Hashimoto, a third-generation Japanese-American. “I think it’s important that we’re out here showing our faces.”

Everyone was wearing masks, but point taken.

Hashimoto, fellow Hana owner Lynn Becker, and a small group of staff, family members, and friends have been handing out food since Friday, averaging about four hours a day volunteering. Hashimoto said they’ve been feeding about 70 percent voters and 30 percent community members, or people who may not necessarily be voting.

“Because it’s a nonpartisan effort, it’s based on feeding anyone who’s in need within that polling district,” she said. “Anyone who comes in and asks for a meal will be served a meal.”

Leoni said she hopes the effort dampens any awkwardness or hesitation about voting in person.

"All these people took time to feel like they can make a choice,” she said. “And I don’t care how they vote. I want an engaged community, an engaged nation.”

Just then, a trim, well-dressed Black man approached the voting center. He wore a navy suit, a hat, sunglasses, and a face mask. A fresh yellow rose was pinned to his lapel.

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Lauren Cusimano

“Look at the dapper businessman!” somebody said.

“That’s because I’m about to hire me — and fire me — somebody,” the gentleman said.

Big laughs all around, and he walked away with two cups of ceviche.

2:30 p.m., Glendale. Over a dozen stolen ballots were discovered under a rock in Glendale, according to a news release from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office issued today.

Last Friday, 18 unopened mail-in ballots were found hidden under a rock near 99th and Glendale avenues. The individual who discovered the ballot cache contacted the Glendale Police Department and investigators eventually concluded that the ballots were stolen from individual mailboxes in a neighborhood south of 107th and Northern avenues. The motive for the ballot theft is unknown and no arrests have been made yet.

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Screenshot via the Arizona Attorney General's Office

Staff with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and the Glendale Police Department hand-delivered the ballots back to their owners over the weekend.

People with information about the incident should submit tips to the Attorney Generals’ Election Integrity Unit online or via email by sending a message to [email protected]

12:30 p.m., Phoenix. Over the lunch hour, a steady trickle of citizens cycled in and out of the polling center at the Burton Barr branch of the Phoenix Library in central Phoenix.

A couple of DJs serenaded voters with uplifting beats. Those exiting the building were bombarded by offers of free sack lunches from people working for Feed the Polls. Earlier in the day, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego had stopped by to pass out doughnuts.

But some liberal voters who stopped by the library were still feeling Election Day anxiety, despite the cheery scene.

“We dropped off our early mail ones because we forgot to mail them,” said Marrisa Mata, who had just voted with her younger sister, Diana Mata, who's a first-time voter.

Both voted for Biden — more, it seemed, out of antipathy toward Trump than enthusiasm for Biden.

“I just don’t want Trump to win," Diana said. "I don’t want him to win. My friends, like, everybody — everybody on social media — is saying to vote for Biden."

“We hope he wins, and I’m kind of stressed about it,” Marrisa added.

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First-time voter Promise Bennett.
Josh Kelety

Another first-time voter, Promise Bennett, 19, said Trump’s ads and demeanor at the first debate with Biden moved her into the Biden column for the presidential race. She said she did her own research on other local races and ended up voting Democrat there, too.

“Just not a fan of Trump, not a fan of what he stands for. I’ve actually seen a lot of ad videos, and all of the Trump ones are just very negative and childish, honestly, immature, and after watching that first debate, I was like, 'Wow,’” she said. “I was like, 'We can’t have that.’ It was a mess.”

Asked how it felt voting for the first time, Bennett said, “It’s great — it’s very empowering. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but it’s empowering just knowing that, no matter how it does turn out, I put my vote in there.”

12:15 p.m., Mesa. Two photos from the Mesa Convention Center polling location.

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Benjamin Leatherman

Above, a surplus military truck decked out with Trump campaign ephemera. Below, Joshua Berger of Phoenix (left) and Linda Abdullah of Gilbert working as nonpartisan "election defenders." 

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Benjamin Leatherman

11:30 a.m., Tempe. Keith Haffron wore black leather shorts, a tiara, a red velvet poncho, and high-heeled boots to the polls this morning.

"You can't complain your feet hurt," he said, showing off the boots outside the Tempe History Museum voting center at 809 East Southern Avenue. "What's your excuse?"

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Keith Haffron, voting in style.
Ray Stern

Haffron said he dressed up because "Halloween's not done," and that he was a Navy veteran, "American as fuck," and wanted to spread positive vibes amid all the political negativity.

He wasn't the only colorful character drawn to this particular polling place. Reverend Glenn Swain, a Tempe minister featured this year on TV news as the "singing chaplain," and Nancy Yeamans of Campaign for Kindness, a group she founded, showed up to bless and spread kindness at the voting center.

The location was one of the busiest in Tempe, according to Maricopa County Elections' website, with about 60 to 80 people in line and 20-minute waits during much of the morning.

A Tempe resident named Kevin (he didn't want to give his last name) dropped off a pre-requested early ballot he'd filled out this morning, bypassing the line for a quick visit. "I chose the easy route today," he said.

His girlfriend, Qing, a Chinese citizen and Arizona State University student who isn't eligible to vote here, came along to observe. Whoever wins the presidency will be "very influential" globally, she noted.

Desiree Sloat of Phoenix said the site was near her workplace, the Ken McDonald Golf Course. She said her voting experience was "good" and "easy," and that she voted Republican — for Trump, Martha McSally, and against Prop 208, the tax-the-wealthy plan to fund public education.

One divergence from many Republicans, though: She voted for Prop 207, the marijuana legalization initiative, she said.

11 a.m., Phoenix. “A member of my campaign staff made the point that I should probably eat something at some point,” Adrian Fontes said.

The Maricopa County Recorder was sitting at a table outside Jobot Coffee and Bar, looking out at a sunny day on Roosevelt Avenue. He had a coffee, a mask, and an empty plate in front of him. “Chorizo crepe,” Fontes said.

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Fontes chillin' at Jobot.
David Hudnall

As the guy overseeing elections in one of the most populous counties in the nation — and the largest county in the potentially crucial battleground state of Arizona — it was looking to be a long day for Fontes. (Not to mention he's also running for reelection.)

He’d been up since 4 a.m., he said. He’d stopped by the Maricopa County elections warehouse down at Third Avenue and Lincoln Street, where, he said, “I think we processed 22,000 votes in the first hour.” He’d done some media, bumped into a few old friends, and now it was time to get “back in the saddle.”

“I’ve got two phones and a backup battery,” Fontes said. "I'm ready."

10:00 a.m., Ahwatukee. The voting center at the Living Word Bible Church in Ahwatukee was getting congested. Voters lined up to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to a full hour to vote in-person while cars jockeyed for space. Energetic Trump supporters whooped and hollered from a nearby tent; Democratic party “poll watchers” eyed the Trump fans cooly from across the parking lot. At 9 a.m., Maricopa County election officials estimated that 180 people were in line and the wait was around 45 minutes, though those numbers had thinned out by 10 a.m.

Some voters at the site didn’t seem to mind the wait, however.

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Ahwatukeeans for Trump.
Josh Kelety

“I was actually expecting it to be longer, so I was pleasantly relieved,” Annie Perry told New Times.

She got there around 9:15 a.m. and voted for Trump. If anything, Perry was excited about all the Election Day hoopla.

“It’s once every four years, at least for the presidential election,” she added. “There’s a lot of people in a lot of countries who can’t do it. Enjoy the day.”

Another voter, Brent Frazier, said he waited around 30 minutes and that the “line moved pretty good.”

Frazier declined to say who he voted for in the presidential race but said he personally thinks that Trump is going to win based on the size of his rallies.

“But I think it could go either way,” he clarified. “Anyone that says they have it totally figured out is fooling themselves.”

9:13 a.m. An estimated 46,000 people have already voted in person throughout Maricopa County, according to Megan Gilbertson, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department. The voting center with the "highest number of voters so far" is the Superstition Springs Center in Mesa.

Looking for voting locations or want to check the wait times at one close to you? You can do that here. If you're registered to vote in Maricopa County, you can vote at any of the 175 polling centers in the county. 
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