/ Modified oct 9, 2020 4:37 p.m.

News roundup: Making your vote count, AZ ballot measures, McSally-Kelly debate analysis

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Oct. 9.

Cases 224,084 | Deaths 5,746

On Friday, Oct. 9, the state reported 683 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths.

A look at Arizona’s two ballot measures

The Buzz

Arizona voters will decide on two statewide ballot propositions this fall — one to tax the wealthy to fund education and one to legalize recreational marijuana. Both issues had similar measures on or nearly on the ballot in previous years. This week, The Buzz examines both ballot propositions and explains who's for and against them.

Listen to the full episode here.

US Senate debate, fact checking claims, voter security

Arizona 360

Lorraine Rivera is joined by two of her co-moderators from this week’s U.S. Senate Debate between Republican Sen. Martha McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly. With Steve Goldstein of KJZZ and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez of the Arizona Republic, they discuss the candidates’ performance and the potential impact it could have on undecided voters.

Christopher Conover fact checks some of the candidates’ statements from the U.S. Senate Debate. Political communication expert and UA professor Kate Kenski analyzes the candidates’ debate styles and the effectiveness of their contrasting approaches.

With early voting underway in Arizona, Tony Paniagua reports on how the Pima County Recorder’s Office processes and verifies ballots, as well as the types of crimes the FBI is tracking that are meant to undermine the voting system.

Watch the full episode here.

Officials urge Arizonans cast their ballots, give tips to make them count


Early ballots have been mailed out and early voting locations are opening across Arizona, election month is underway.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said she expects as many as 90% of Arizona voters to cast an early ballot in the general election.

“We are encouraging as many people as possible to vote by mail. And you can request an early ballot up until Oct. 23,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs encourages people to turn in their early ballots as early as possible. The sooner ballots get back to county recorders the more quickly they can be processed.

For more guidance and information on the voting process, click here, or visit our voters' guide.

Your Vote 2020
Read more coverage of national, Arizona, and local elections at our 2020 elections portal, Your Vote 2020.

Arizona sees unemployment drop


For the first time in a month, the number of Arizona residents receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has dropped.

PUA is a federal program that allows people who are self-employed or working in the gig economy to receive unemployment benefits. People in those categories are not able to receive regular unemployment from the state.

The number of people receiving the PUA benefits dropped by nearly 20,000 during the first week of October.

That drop marked the first reduction in the pandemic program since the beginning of August.

Learn more here.

TUSD board candidates address pandemic, education issues in forum


Candidates running for the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board gathered via Zoom Thursday to discuss their stances on issues facing the district, including the COVID-19 pandemic, teacher shortages, declining enrollment and the district's ongoing desegregation order.

The board, which makes policy decisions for the district, has three open spots this fall. There are seven candidates, including one write-in candidate. Voters may choose three candidates on their ballots this November.

Learn more here.

Border Patrol Agents To Be Equipped With Body Cameras

Fronteras Desk

U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southwestern border will soon be equipped with body cameras like those used by local law enforcement.

Customs and Border Protection gave a $13 million contract to Axon Enterprises for body cameras for 3,800 border agents. They’ll be distributed to agents stationed along the Mexico border starting next spring.

The agency has been testing several platforms for at least the past six years after it started drafting up new use of force policies following a series of violent encounters between agents and civilians.

The Border Patrol’s national union has opposed agents wearing cameras, arguing in the past they don’t work well in the field.

Fresh off debate, Pence rallies in Nevada, Arizona


PEORIA — Vice President Mike Pence applauded President Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his opposition to abortion and his support for police, during a pair of campaign stops Thursday in Nevada and Arizona.

At a stop in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria, the vice president repeated many of the points he made during the debate, casting former Vice President Joe Biden as ineffective in his years in U.S. government and pushing back against the notion that there is systemic racism in police departments. The Arizona stop came as Biden made his first campaign visit to the state, joining Harris for several stops in metro Phoenix.

Learn more here.

Navajo Nation reports 32 new COVID-19 cases, one more death


WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation health officials report 32 new cases of COVID-19 with one additional death. The latest numbers released Thursday bring the total number of cases to 10,582 including four additional cases that were previously unreported due to delayed reporting or reconciliation. The death toll now stands at 563 since the pandemic began.

Tribal health officials say 111,430 people on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah have been tested for the coronavirus and 7,312 have recovered. A shelter-in-place order, mask mandate, daily curfews and weekend lockdowns remain in effect on the Navajo Nation.

Court upholds sentences for juveniles beyond life expectancy


PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Friday that it’s not unconstitutional for a juvenile criminal defendant convicted of multiple crimes to be sentenced to what amounts to an aggregate prison sentence beyond life expectancy. The justices’ unanimous decision upholds sentences for three inmates convicted in separate cases in Mohave and Pima counties.

U.S. Supreme Court rulings restrict sentencing of juvenile defendants, including prohibiting the death sentence and mandatory life sentences without possibility of parole.

Lawyers for the juvenile inmates in the Arizona cases decided Friday argued unsuccessfully that their clients received de facto life sentences violating the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Learn more here.

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