Pinal County Elections Department officials still have 5,500 ballots to count from Tuesday’s election.

After staff counted approximately 3,500 ballots this afternoon, the two biggest questions on the ballot, the county’s Regional Transportation Authority plan and its funding mechanism, continue to have the same margin of separation.

Proposition 416, the RTA, is passing with more than 56 percent of the ballots and a 5,327-vote lead. Prop 417, a half-cent sales tax to fund the RTA, is still up in the air. With the additional ballots counted so far Wednesday, the “Yes” votes have a slightly larger lead than before. The margin is 442 votes.

Elections Director Michele Forney said there will be another update between 6 and 7 p.m., but that will not be the end of the tally. She said counting will continue Thursday.

If Prop 417 does not pass, Prop 416 will not go into effect.

Edward Farrell, a former member of Maricopa City Council who has been outspoken in his support of both propositions, said the increased sales tax would decrease the property tax base.

“I don’t know if people realize this, but Pinal County has got the highest property tax base in Arizona. Out of 16 counties, we’re the highest,” he said. “Why are we the highest? Because we’ve been a low industry base, but if we can create economic development, then we’re going to drop that tax base and create lower property taxes throughout Pinal County, and it only starts with roads and throughways and if anybody doesn’t believe that, they’re only fooling themselves.”

 

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