The Pinal County Elections Department is preparing for a slew of elections. The five-person department is responsible for running six elections this month and will then jump into the 2008 election cycle, elections director Gilberto Hoyos said.
“Everything has to be tested, working, ready and accurate when Pinal County residents choose their presidential candidates on Feb. 5,” Hoyos said. “Immediately following the certification of the votes in the Nov. 6, 2007, election, we start the big countdown to Super Tuesday. “We are already working toward “Super Tuesday,” but the heat is turned up in mid-November.”
There are about 120,400 registered voters in the county.
Early voting for the Nov. 6 election began in mid-November. Voters in different areas will decide three school district budget overrides — Apache Junction, J.O. Combs and Sacaton Elementary — and the potential incorporation of Arizona City, and the adoption of the national fire code for the Stanfield Fire District.
The Presidential Preference Election has been moved from the fourth Tuesday in February to Feb. 5, or Super Tuesday, when voters in 20 states first go to the polls to nominate party candidates. Early voting, or voting by mail, for that primary starts on Jan. 10. The last day to mail early ballots will be Jan. 25.
That election was on Feb. 26 in the past. With early voting starting in January, there’s no rest for the weary, Hoyos said.
In March and May the department will host six city or town elections and possibly some school district and special district elections.
“Most people don’t realize that elections can only take place in four different months. March, May, September and November are the consolidated months for city, town, school district and special district elections,” Hoyos said. “The only exception is February.”
Once the Super Tuesday election is over, the Elections Department will start preparations for the statewide general election on Nov. 4, 2008.
“Every four years, I have to be the bad guy again,” Hoyos said. “Our elections team will have happy holidays but no extra time off. Normally we try to burn unused time off during the holidays, and we’re going to be limited on that.”
In order to count ballots and officially certify election results, Hoyos and his staff must pass a certification course every two years. The certification process covers new election-related legislation, timelines, technologies and voting requirements such as the new law requiring photo identification or two forms of nonphoto identification.
• For more information about elections in Pinal County, contact the elections department at (520) 866-7550 or visit http://co.pinal.az.us/Elections/.