Arizona voters are turning out in record numbers to cast their ballots in this year's election.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Arizona is on pace to set a new record for the number of ballots cast in an election year, according to the Secretary of State's office.

As of Monday morning, the state had received about 2.6 million early ballots, which is equal to all of the ballots cast in Arizona during the 2016 presidential election.

Already, Maricopa Country, the most populated county in the state, has set records for an election cycle, having processed about 1.6 million ballots so far.

Maricopa County voters have already returned more early ballots than in 2016 general election

The numbers show enthusiasm is high in one of the key battleground states that could determine the presidential race as well as which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Right now, Joe Biden holds a narrow lead over President Donald Trump as the candidates head into final day of voting, according to the website 538.com, which calculates the polling averages.

Democrats are optimistic that the high turnout is an indication that younger voters are participating in larger numbers.

Polls indicate that that Biden performs better that his opponent with younger voters, women and Hispanics and Latinos, as well as in larger cities like Phoenix and Tucson.

Meanwhile, the president's strength rests in the rural parts of the state and is banking on a big turnout in that part of Arizona to carrying him to victory here.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona's Election Authority]

A breakdown of the early ballot returns had show Democrats leading Republicans. But over the past week, the GOP closed the gap, according to Data Orbital, a local firm that tracks the ballots.

As of Monday, Democrats and Republicans each accounted for about 37 percent of all the early ballots, while independents accounted for about 26 percent.

 

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