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According to Graham County Recorder Wendy John, as of Thursday morning the county had received 3,800 early ballots from voters for next week’s primary election.

Graham and Greenlee County voters are increasingly turning to early voting instead of going to polling places on election day, and it’s a trend that started long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2016’s general election, Graham County recorded 7,779 early votes compared to 4,587 on election day and Greenlee County saw 2,326 early votes (the county did not provide a number for election day votes).

The numbers were similar in 2018; in Graham County, there were 4,461 early votes to 1,439 in the primary election and 7,204 to 3,469 in the general. Greenlee County received 1,218 and 1,996 in those elections.

The trend continued this year with Graham County’s March 17 presidential preference and May 19 special recall elections, which saw 86 and 83 percent of the votes cast early.

There were 4,735 registered voters in Greenlee County as of January and 19,136 registered voters in Graham.

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