by Jim Nintzel
The return rate of early ballots has yet to crest the 50 percent mark as of today, which means that more than half the ballots mailed out have yet to be cast. We'll stand by our earlier prediction that we'll see the lowest rate of return yet with early ballots. We'll also stand by the prediction that percentage of early votes will reach an all-time high and turnout on Election Day will be low.
We'll take a guess that overall turnout will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 percent of Tucson's roughly 224,000 voters.
Republicans have a higher rate of return, at 54 percent, while Democrats have finally passed the 50 percent mark. But Democrats have such a registration advantage that they have sent back nearly 4,600 more ballots than Republicans.
That does not mean that all those Democrats have voted for the Democratic candidates; we would not be surprised to find there is some crossover, or at least people sitting out the council races (or voting for Jasper the marbled polecat, as TW recommended). But it's a substantial advantage over the GOP, nonetheless.
Independents are showing the least interest in the races, with just four out of 10 returning ballots. That's no surprise, either, since they tend to have less political passion in the first place.
Here's the latest, with numbers as of today:
A total of 68,325 ballots had been mailed to city voters. Of those, 33,709 ballots had been returned, which comes out to roughly 49 percent.
• 32,429 of those ballots went to Democrats; 16,270 of those ballots had been cast, for a return rate of roughly 50 percent.
• 21,749 of those ballots went to Republicans; 11,677 of those ballots had been cast, for a return rate of roughly 54 percent.
• 372 of those ballots went to Libertarians; 149 of those ballots had been cast, for a return rate of roughly 40 percent.
• 164 of those ballots went to Greens; 80 of those ballots had been cast, for a return rate of roughly 49 percent.
• 13,611 ballots had been sent to people who aren't registered with any of the above parties; 5,533 had been cast, for a return rate of roughly 41 percent.
Today is the last day to mail in your early ballot if you want to be sure it gets counted. After today, you should drop it off at a polling place on Tuesday.