President Donald Trump unofficially kicked off election week with a West Valley rally planned for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Trump announced the campaign stop at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport just three days before the rally, as the energetic Republican leader—trailing in the polls to Democrat challenger Joe Biden—continues his bounce back from COVID-19 with a charged campaign schedule.
Trump has emphasized two themes that have emerged: early ballots and voting security. During the first presidential debate, Trump said about mail-in ballots: “This is going to be fraud like you’ve never seen.” On Monday, Oct. 26, he tweeted: “Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA.”
According to U.S. Elections Project, a widely watched website by a University of Florida professor, by Oct. 27 more than 66 million voted early—many by mail.
While there have been long lines elsewhere around the country, the scene outside the voting center at Peoria Power Center at 10250 N. 91st Avenue was serene Friday, Oct. 23. The parking lot featured only a few “vote here” signs, and voters were undisturbed as they walked inside to cast their votes.
Maricopa County went over the 1 million ballots counted mark Friday, Oct. 23, according to Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.
While Trump and others raised concerns about the election, Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat expressed confidence.
“The safety of our community is the city of Peoria’s No. 1 priority,” Carlat said. “We are proud to have an exceptionally trained police department, which includes a Threat Mitigation Unit who works closely with local, regional and federal law enforcement to monitor and address threats to our community.”
Carlat added that the police department “has been evaluating all precautionary measures in preparation of Election Day. And, like any significant event, (the police department) will ensure all necessary resources are available to keep Peoria residents safe as they undertake their most important civic duty.”
As the county Elections Department notes on a website page devoted to voting security, only verified ballots are counted: “Once the signature is verified on the affidavit envelope, it is opened by a bipartisan board and sent to be counted. All uncounted ballots are tracked and reported in the official canvass for each election.”
In-person voting centers, drop boxes and even drive-thru drop boxes will be available through Tuesday, Nov. 3, with locations around the Peoria area. (For a complete list, see Page 7.)
Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers was feeling good about the process.
“Arizona has a long and successful history of providing safe and secure locations for voters, thanks to the leadership of our governor and state Legislature,” Weiers said.
“I have full confidence in the system and know that a large number of voters have already voted,” he added.
The county also offers a new way to track ballots: “Track your ballot by texting ‘JOIN’ to 628-683 or online at beballotready.vote.”