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Maricopa County seeing high voter turnout this election cycle

An Arizona elections official at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office inserts ballots into a machine to recount the votes in the 5th Congressional District race Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Phoenix. Arizona officials on Tuesday began counting thousands of ballots in the razor-thin Republican primary in a Phoenix-area congressional district.

Maricopa County’s top election official thinks voter turnout will reach 80 percent, when you combine early ballots with in-person voting on Election Day.

That would be a few percentage points higher than the turnout in 2012 and about on par with what the county saw in 2008.

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said early voting turnout has been strong. Her office has already received over one million early ballots. Still, she is expecting many voters to turnout at the polls on Election Day.

Some Maricopa County residents who decided to vote at an early voting location have waited in long lines. Purcell said some polling places on Election Day will see lines as well, but she doesn’t believe voters will have to wait several hours.

“We hope that [wait times] will be no longer than 30 minutes to an hour,” Purcell said. “That’s what is normal when you have a contested presidential election.”

Maricopa County will have 724 polling locations open on Election Day. Purcell said they will have extra staff working the polls, but the number of poll workers will vary by location.

“We may have one with six poll workers, we may have one with 13, depending on the size and how many e-poll books we have put in place at those precincts,” she explained.

Early voters who cast a ballot in person were allowed to visit any early voting site in the county. On Election Day, voters must cast a ballot at their designated polling location.

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