Pinal municipal races with ballot errors saw lower turnout

Dave Klingensmith, left, Councilmember Matt Herman and council candidate Anthony Edwards campaign for votes Aug. 2 in front of Passion Church on Kortsen Road. /Oscar Perez/PinalCentral

By JOEY CHENOWETH | PinalCentral

 Final vote tallies out of Pinal County Elections show some signs that printing issues that required sending out supplemental municipal ballots might have led to lower participation in those races.

The number of ballots cast in this month’s primary election increased 7.7% from the primary in August of 2020, though it should be noted that due to rapid growth in the number of registered voters, that actually results in a lower turnout percentage. The turnout was 31.3% in 2020 and 28.1% in 2022.

Nevertheless, there are some clear signs of where Pinal County’s issues with ballots had an impact. While it’s true that comparing turnout for two elections can be tricky, and 2022 had a hotly contested Republican governor race, comparing only the nonpartisan municipal elections seems to raise concerns.

When looking at the municipalities that did not have any issues with the original ballot — Coolidge, Florence, Kearny and Winkelman — the results show that participation actually increased from 2020 to 2022.

For example, there were 1,704 votes cast in the uncontested Coolidge mayor’s race, a significant increase over the 2020 number of 1,576. Similarly in the Coolidge council race, there were 4,902 votes cast for three seats, compared to 4,316 votes two years earlier.

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The number of ballots cast in this month’s primary election increased 7.7% from the primary in August of 2020, though it should be noted that due to rapid growth in the number of registered voters, that actually results in a lower turnout percentage. The turnout was 31.3% in 2020 and 28.1% in 2022.

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