Voter turnout in today's Mesa election is expected to be among the highest in city history.
The historic election - with the mayor's post and four council seats all assured of new faces - should draw more voters than the 2004 primary, when current Mayor Keno Hawker was elected to a second term, pre-election indicators suggest.
More than 142,000 people have registered for this election, and 33,945 early ballots had been received as of Monday, according to the Mesa City Clerk's office. The total voter turnout in the 2004 primary race was 34,315, with voters casting 32,607 ballots in the mayor's contest.
A recent Tribune poll showed the three mayoral candidates are in a statistical dead heat. Scott Smith led the poll with 18.3 percent of respondents' votes, Claudia Walters tallied 16.7 percent and Rex Griswold netted 14 percent, but all are within the poll's 5 percent margin of error.
Tempe voters also go to the polls today to elect a mayor and three council members. Hugh Hallman is the only mayoral contender on the ballot, but Corona del Sol High School student Derek Lull, 18, is running as a write-in candidate for mayor.
Council incumbents Hut Hutson and Mark Mitchell are seeking re-election against challengers Darryl Jacobson-Barnes, Julie Jakubek, Joel Navarro, Rhett Wilson and Corey Woods.
More than 20,000 of the nearly 94,000 registered Tempe voters have received early ballots.
Early voters who have not yet mailed their ballots must deliver them in person to a polling site today by 7 p.m.
Ballots can be dropped off at any Maricopa County site.