Election Signs

Ballot signs are at scores of intersections around the West Valley, in anticipation of the Nov. 3 election. The county has begun mailing ballots.

According to the Maricopa County Department of Elections, early ballots are being mailed as of Wednesday, Oct. 7.

“A total of 175 vote centers and 35 drop boxes have been finalized. Ballots mailed and in-person voting became available on Oct. 7,” noted Clint Hickman, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors District 4 representative and chairman.

“Seven locations are open, with one of those being in District 4 at Surprise City Hall.”

 For voting center locations, visit recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace.

“Voters may now choose from any voting location, rather than just one assigned location,” said Scott Jarrett, director of Election Day and emergency voting with the Maricopa County Elections Department.

While many—including President Donald Trump—have expressed concern about the integrity of 2002 voting, Hickman stressed, “The Elections Department has worked to provide voters with a safe, accessible, secure and transparent general election.” 

In Maricopa County, voters have the choice to vote by mail or in person through Election Day, Nov. 3.

All voting locations will follow strict physical distancing and cleaning guidelines, according to the county.

Oct. 23 is the last day to request a ballot in the mail.

The county recommends those voting by mail to post ballots by Oct. 27.

To check early ballot voting status and more, visit recorder.maricopa.gov/elections.

West Valley ballots will allow residents to vote on the presidential race between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, as well as U.S. Senate and House of Representatives races.

For those who don’t watch television, which has been saturated with ads by both candidates, incumbent Sen. Martha McSally is challenged by Democrat Mark Kelly.

In the 3rd Congressional District, Raúl Grijalva—a Democrat incumbent since 2002—faces Republican challenger Daniel Wood. 

In the 7th Congressional District, which includes part of Tolleson and Glendale, Ruben Gallego, the Democrat incumbent, faces a challenge from Republican Josh Barnett.

“As a business owner and family man, I have witnessed the corruption and disregard for our Constitution that is eroding liberty in our country,” Barnett says on his campaign website.

Gallego is the heavy favorite, after winning the 2018 election with more than 85% of the votes. Gallego was first elected to Congress in 2014 and reelected in 2016, with 75% of the votes in those two elections.

In the 8th Congressional District, which stretches from Goodyear to New River, including part of Glendale and Peoria, incumbent Republican Debbie Lesko is challenged by Democrat Michael Muscato, a newcomer to politics who owns a gym in Glendale.

Nearly 78% of Maricopa County’s nearly 2.5 million registered voters have already requested a ballot in the mail. 

The Elections Department is also adding new, drive-thru drop boxes in the parking lots of sport stadiums across the county. Voters will be able to return completed ballots in their signed and sealed green affidavit envelope from their vehicles. Trained staff will work at all drive-thru drop boxes and will deliver the sealed envelopes to the Elections Department nightly, tracking the chain of custody and keeping ballots secure. Drive-thru drop box locations are open on Oct. 24 and from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.

 Find sites and hours of operation at locations.maricopa.vote.

“Maricopa County has been providing every voter with the option to request a ballot in the mail since 1996. We have layers of oversight to ensure only valid ballots are counted,” said Rey Valenzuela, director of early voting and election services with the Maricopa County Elections Department. “We plan to make sure that no matter what option voters choose, it’s safe, accessible and secure.”

School funding

West Valley residents will vote on federal and state representatives—as well as hyper-local issues involving school funding and school boards.

Several school districts are asking West Valley residents for funding.

The Avondale Elementary School District requests a continuation of the existing 15% override. If approved, the $5.1 million override would cost the owner of a home with a limited property value of $123,470 (the average value of a home in the district) approximately $139 per year, according to ballot information.

Buckeye Union High School District residents will decide on an $87 million bond for classroom additions, classroom remodels/expansions, student technology, transportation vehicles and athletic facilities renovation.

According to Buckeye Union ballot information, “The tax impact over the term of the bonds on an owner-occupied residence valued by the county assessor at $250,000 is estimated to be $148.98 per year for 26 years, or $3,873.48 total cost.”

Liberty Elementary School District residents will decide on a continuation of the existing 10% override of about $2.4 million. According to ballot information, “The estimated continuation cost of the full override to an owner of a home with a limited property value of $168,170 (the average value of a home in the district) would be approximately $136 per year.”

Saddle Mountain Unified School District residents will vote on a continuation of the existing 10% override. The estimated continuation cost of the full override to an owner of a home with a limited property value of $116,650 (the average value of a home in the district) would be approximately $20 per year.

In the Tolleson Elementary School District, voters will decide on a continuation of the existing 15% override. The estimated continuation cost of the full override to an owner of a home with a limited property value of $85,510 (the average value of a home in the district) would be approximately $101 per year.

Tolleson Union High School District residents will decide on a continuation of the existing 15% override. The estimated continuation cost of the full override to an owner of a home with a limited property value of $106,100 (the average value of a home in the district) would be approximately $95 per year.

School boards

West Valley voters also will decide on school board representatives.

Buckeye Elementary School District voters will choose from Amy Lovitt, Michael Melton, Brett Benninghoff and Richard Hopkins for three open seats.

Six filed as Buckeye Union High School District board candidates for three open seats: Morris Seeskin, Megan Blackburn, Jeffrey Brady,  Kristi Bencomo, Paul Jensen and Brian Turner.

Five candidates filed as Litchfield Elementary School District governing board candidates for three open seats: Ryan Risselman, Tawnya Pfitzer, Jeremy Hoenack, Danielle Clymer and Melissa Zuidema.

Four candidates filed as Littleton Elementary School District governing board candidates for three open seats: Sara Contreras, Kathy Reyes, John Raeder and Sophia Johnson.

Other West Valley districts canceled elections due to a lack of competition.

Agua Fria Union High School District residents will not vote, as only Kristen Acton, Gina DeCoste and Trey Terry filed for three open board seats. They will be appointed.

Similarly, Avondale Elementary School District will not have an election, as Amy Lowe, Mark Gonzales, Megan Griego, Elizabeth Canchola and Robert Vernier were the only candidates to file for the five open board positions.

Liberty Elementary School District will not have an election for the governing board, with only three candidates for the three open seats: Suzanne McEvoy, Jamie Miller and Paul Bixler. (William Jennings withdrew his candidacy.)

And only three filed as Saddle Mountain Unified School District governing board candidates for the same number of open seats: Bernadette Delacruz, Bonnie Hudson and Paul Roetto.

Tolleson Elementary and Tolleson Union High school districts will not have elections.

Due to a lack of competition, Anthony Aponte, Belinda Quezada and Roberta Garcia will be appointed to the Tolleson Elementary School District governing board and Steven Chapman, Kino Flores and Freddie Villalon will be appointed to the Tolleson Union High School District governing board.