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Politics Arizona could be one of first swing states called on election night

21:56  30 october  2020
21:56  30 october  2020 Source:   cbsnews.com

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Election night 2020 promises to pose more questions than answers. Huge volumes of vote-by-mail ballots from states that can't begin counting them until Election Day might significantly delay the count to a winner. 60 Minutes cameras show the process by which much of Arizona's mail-in vote is already processed and counted, with the ballot counts stored in a secure server not connected to the internet. John Dickerson's report shows a traditionally Republican state in political flux whose presidential pick might be among the first swing states to be called and might be a new bellwether. It will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, November 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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an orange sunset in the background: dickerson60preview-10.jpg © Credit: CBSNews dickerson60preview-10.jpg

Arizona started counting and tabulating a record number of early votes on October 20, 14 days before the election. It will be ahead of the pack says the state's chief election officer and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. "That's a huge advantage, particularly over states that are seeing a huge increase in the volume of voting by mail and statutorily aren't able to start processing ballots until that day. We're certainly going to be ahead of them."

Arizona, a red state whose voters favored a Republican presidential candidate in every election except one since 1952, is now polling slightly toward Joe Biden. Suburban women, Latinos and seniors are responsible for this shift, the same groups who are considered swing votes in highly-contested states. One of those shifting seniors is the widow of Arizona's former Republican Senator John McCain; she endorsed Biden last month. She says Republicans, led by Trump, are too divisive. "Somehow you have to either be on this side or this side, and there's no in-between," she tells Dickerson. "Gosh, 'if you're a Democrat, we're not going to talk to you.' They no longer put country before party. It's the opposite right now," says McCain.

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Dickerson saw many signs that Arizonans still like the president, including a three-mile-long caravan of vehicles sporting Trump signs and American flags. Still, the state's Republican Party chairwoman, Dr. Kelli Ward, agrees there's change in the air. "Obviously the country is changing. It seems like there is a sea change politically across the board. A lot of people have come from California to Arizona," she says. Ward believes Trump will still win the day, whether people like him or not. "This isn't about a person. This is about policies. When you put those before the people without Donald Trump attached to them, they love them," Ward tells Dickerson.

Jeff Flake is the state's former Republican senator who, at odds with the president and his party followers, famously declined to seek another term. He says Arizona remains a state whose local elections will still go to Republicans, but Trump is a different Republican. "[Arizona] is still a center-right state. But not President Trump's style of politics. That just doesn't play well for a lot of independents and a lot of moderate Republicans," says Flake.

Asked what an Arizona victory for Biden means on election night, Flake replies, "If you could put together as a Democrat, put together a campaign that could win this state, you're going to win the country."

How to watch election night 2020: the definitive hour-by-hour guide .
Election Day is nearly here, and in a matter of hours we’ll find out whether this is the end of the campaign — or just the beginning of a protracted fight over who won. At 7 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time, which applies to all times mentioned here), we’ll start to see returns from Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Georgia. Trump won all four of these states in 2016 and needs to win them again in 2020. The good news for viewers is that we should see relatively quick results in these key states, all of which are allowed to start processing (i.e., opening envelopes, validating signatures or even counting) their early votes and mail ballots before Election Day.

usr: 0
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