Election Day 2018: How things are unfolding for Arizona voters

Nov 6, 2018, 9:27 AM | Updated: 11:53 pm

PHOENIX — Election Day 2018 is here.

Arizona voters started lining up Tuesday before the polls opened at 6 a.m. Anybody who arrives at their site or a vote center by 7 p.m. will be able to vote.

They are choosing the state’s first female senator and giving thumbs-up or thumbs-down to five ballot initiatives.

The race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is the main event, but it’s far from the only compelling story line for this midterm election.

The state’s largest city is voting for a new leader, although, with four candidates, the Phoenix mayoral race may continue into a runoff.

Meanwhile, Phoenix’s former mayor, Democrat Greg Stanton, is looking to move to the U.S. House. He’s running against Republican Steve Ferrara in the 9th Congressional District, the seat currently held by Sinema.

And, of course, voters will decide whether to give Republican Gov. Doug Ducey a second term or turn the state over to Democrat David Garcia.

Here’s how Election Day 2018 is playing out in the Valley and the state:

6 a.m.

The polls opened. Well, most of them did.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes reported that a handful of the county’s 503 sites had early problems, only one of them related to technology.

Most notably, election staff couldn’t get into the Golf Academy of America location in Chandler because the building was foreclosed on overnight.

It was a far cry from the 62 Phoenix-area sites weren’t ready to open on time for the August primary election.

The county’s 40 vote centers remained options for all voters, regardless of location.

7:44 a.m.

Fontes said around 40,000 voters had arrived at Maricopa County polling locations in the early portion of voting.

“Between 6 a.m., when we opened our polling places, and 7:44, we had 38,800 voters issued ballots and 2,346 are provisional on top of that,” he said.

“So we’re into 40,000 voters.”

Most of the state’s voters won’t be turning out Tuesday because they mailed in their ballots during early voting.

8:35 a.m.


8:46 a.m.

Election officials gained access to the Golf Academy of America location in Chandler.

8:56 a.m.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia was serving up lattes at the Fair Trade Cafe in Phoenix.

9:02 a.m.

Gov. Doug Ducey cast his vote in Paradise Valley.

9:50 a.m.

Fontes reported that 86,000 ballots had been cast. He said 350,000 county voters went to the polls all day during the 2016 general election.

During a press conference, he said a few vote centers had problems printing ballots, but he did not provide details beyond that.

“Every time we see a problem pop up we are attacking it with vigor,” he said.

He said some sites had long lines mostly because of high turnout, not because of issues processing voters.

Voters were being processed in about one minute on average once they made it to the registration tables, he said. The national average, he said, is usually around four minutes.

10:34 a.m.

Coconino County election officials said its busiest site was the Tuba City Vote Center, with 410 walking up to cast their ballots. The vote center at Walkup Skydome at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff had pulled in 362.


Voting system computers were down throughout Maricopa County for about five minutes.

At a press conference, Fontes said the impact on voting was minor.

He didn’t know what caused the problem, and he praised his staff members for their rapid reaction.

12:10 p.m.

David Garcia, the Democratic candidate for governor, stopped by Arizona State University and shook hands and chatted with potential young voters.

12:45 p.m.

Democratic candidate for Senate Kyrsten Sinema turned up at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix to talk to voters and the media.

1 p.m.

Rep. Martha McSally is telling backers to “just land the plane.”

The Republican senate candidate and former combat pilot greeted supporters at a Chandler diner on Election Day. She urged them to “carbo-load” and then get back to knocking on doors.

In McSally’s words, “we’re mission complete, we’re almost out of ammo, just land the plane.”

1:02 p.m.

Maybe this is the the year young voters will swing an election.

Video from ABC15 showed long lines of students waiting to vote at Arizona State University.

The lines caught the attention of Pizza to the Polls, a nonprofit organization that orders pizzas to be delivered to people standing in line to vote.

The group has served voters across the U.S. and in England and Australia.

2:33 p.m.

Fontes went on the air with KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos to discuss the day’s events.

He said his office learned a lot from the problems it experienced during the August primary election.

“You’ve got to break some eggs to make an omelette and I’m very unhappy about how August worked out, but to a degree it is a blessing in disguise,” he said.

Fontes said the Maricopa County elections system has taken “a big leap forward” since then.

“I think we’re well on our way to having one of the best election systems in America,” he said.

3:10 p.m.

The lines at ASU continued to be lengthy, with some voters saying they waited at the Palo Verde West polling location for about an hour.

3:30 p.m.

A man at a Phoenix-area polling location was arrested for allegedly carrying a BB gun and filming inside the venue.

The Goodyear Police Department told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email that 37-year-old Brad Luebke entered the Desert Springs Community Church near 144th Avenue and Indian School Road wearing a holstered BB gun on his hip.

Polling officials and officers attempted to reason with Luebke and asked him to act in regard to the Arizona statutes regarding polling locations or leave, according to spokeswoman Lisa Berry, but he “refused to leave or cooperate.”

At that point, officers took Luebke into custody.

Berry said officers are looking to charge him with three counts of disorderly conduct, one count of misconduct involving weapons and one count of recording within 75 feet of a polling place.

3:50 p.m.

The vote count in Maricopa County, as of 3:50 p.m. is at 198,000 votes, according to a Maricopa County recorder’s office official.

4:10 p.m.

Volunteers outside of the Burton Barr Public Library in Phoenix have been greeting and thanking voters.

4:20 p.m.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino says the line at Arizona State University’s polling location continues to grow.

Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally also greeted voters in line at ASU.

4:30 p.m.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross says the Republican Party has set the stage for its election night rally.

5:15 p.m.

Maricopa County officials have added voting machines at ASU in an attempt to alleviate the long wait times.

5:40 p.m.

ABC15’s Dave Biscobing says the total Maricopa County voting numbers have topped 242,000.

6 p.m.

Fontes confirmed that 242,175 people in Maricopa County voted on Tuesday.

“It was a record breaker,” he said. “We were excited to get that many folks out and able to vote.”

Fontes said results from the 691,000 early votes mailed into Maricopa County will be reported at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Fontes said he was “encouraged” by the long voting lines at ASU, saying they were most likely caused by provisional ballots.

“We will stay open as long as we need to,” Fontes said.

6:20 p.m.

Attendees have started to arrive at the Republican Party rally in Scottsdale.

6:40 p.m.

The voting total in Maricopa County has nearly reached 260,000.

6:50 p.m.

Eric Spencer with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office said a Maricopa County Superior Court judge denied a request to extend polling place hours.

7 p.m.

Polls have closed in Arizona.

Voters who were in line by 7 p.m. can still cast a ballot.

Early results are expected to come in around 8 p.m.

7:20 p.m.

Attendees have started to arrive at the Democratic Party rally in Phoenix.

7:50 p.m.

Cochise County officials said 11,779 people voted on Tuesday.

8:30 p.m.

The first results of the night came in.

8:50 p.m.

Former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

8:55 p.m.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey wins his re-election bid over Democrat David Garcia.

9:30 p.m.

Stanton speaks to reporters and the public after it was announced that he won his election.

10 p.m.

All of the five propositions on the Arizona ballot have been called.

Read up on the latest here:

10:02 p.m.

Incumbent Republican Mark Brnovich wins his re-election bid for attorney general.

10:30 p.m.

Republican Steve Gaynor was elected as Arizona secretary of state in a close election with Democrat Katie Hobbs.

11 p.m.

Incumbent Republican Debbie Lesko won her re-election bid for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

11:20 p.m.

The race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema for U.S. Senate was too close to call Tuesday night.

The Arizona Republican Party announced late Tuesday night that they were wrapping up their election night party.

According to the Arizona’s Secretary of State office, McSally was leading in the race — but by a very small margin. She had 674,295 votes to Sinema’s 663,501.

KTAR News 92.3 FM brings you complete election coverage all day Tuesday, including post-election coverage until 10 p.m.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar, Griselda Zetino, Kathy Cline, Jim Cross and Bob McClay and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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Election Day 2018: How things are unfolding for Arizona voters