Low turnout expected in primary election

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Fewer than expected mailed ballots have been returned to Pima County and that has prompted authorities to lower their estimates of turnout in Tuesday's primary election.

Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez says, "Traditionally vote-by-mail ballots always had a return rate of between 80% and 90% of ballots mailed," but she said the return rate is much lower for this election.

She says one factor could be "voter apathy" after all the "negative commercial messages" that have aired.

Rodriguez said, "There are excellent candidates running for elective office this political season with various politcal persuasion and voters should participate."

Rodriguez says there are still 83,000 ballots out there that were mailed to registered voters in Pima County.  She urged people holding those ballots to fill them out today and drop them off at their polling place tomorrow.  She warned people not to mail the ballots as they will arrive too late to be counted.

Another issue could be polls show key races likely already decided.  In the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, polls six months ago showed a close race between incumbent John McCain and challenger J.D. Hayworth, but a barrage of campaign commercials by McCain against Hayworth has now given McCain a comfortable lead.

In the race for the Republican nomination for Governor, polls in late 2009 showed Jan Brewer would have a tough time getting her party's nomination for a full term, but ever since she signed the controversial SB1070 into law, her poll numbers have shot up and all but one of her opponents have dropped from the race.

Polls open statewide at 6 a.m. and will stay open until 7 p.m.   Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.  The first returns should be released at about 8:30 p.m.

Watch Fox 11 News at 9 Tuesday night for your first look at the results.