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Phoenix special election on light rail, pensions enters final phase

(Flickr Photo/Valley Metro)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix special election on the fate of light rail and city pensions is entering its last phase.

Any ballots returned by mail must be received by 7 p.m. Tuesday — Election Day — to be counted, so at this point in-person voting is the only sure option.

Friday is the last day for in-person voting on the 15th floor of Phoenix City Hall.

After that, voting will proceed at the city’s 28 voting centers Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Registered voters must have proof of identity to get a ballot at the polls.

Anybody who received an early ballot in the mail but hasn’t sent it in can drop it off at any voting center during the posted times.

The election covers two initiatives, one on the future of light rail and the other on pension debt policies.

Proposition 105 asks voters if the city should end all light rail construction, including the hotly contested South Central extension, and redirect the earmarked funding to other infrastructure projects.

Proposition 106 concerns annual assessments of pension liabilities and proposes a cap on budget growth for certain programs if pensions aren’t adequately funded.

City spokesman Matthew Hamada said 151,750 completed ballots had been returned by Wednesday. That was 27.63% of the 549,128 mail-in ballots requested.

Hamada said first unofficial results are expected around 8 p.m. Tuesday, with any remaining ballots counted over subsequent days. The final canvass is scheduled for Sept. 4.

According to the city’s elections website, between 88% and 97% of all votes cast in the last three citywide elections were by early ballots.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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