Mesa, Arizona (CNN) – Arizona's Republican presidential primary is still a week away, but more than 200,000 people have already cast ballots.
According to officials in Maricopa County, 167,838 Republican ballots have been returned, out of over 388,000 early ballots that were requested. In neighboring Pima County, officials said 40,688 ballots have been returned, out of 85,041 that were mailed out.
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Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, and Pima County, which includes Tucson, account for about three-quarters of Arizona's population.
"I would say turnout is good," said Evonne Reed, a public information officer in the Maricopa County Recorder's office.
She added, "This isn't quite like 2008. There was a little more excitement because of the competition."
Four years ago eventual Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain won his home state, topping former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 12 points. Just over 541,000 people cast ballots in the 2008 GOP primary.
Early voting in Arizona began on February 2, and the conventional wisdom is that ballots returned in the first week may favor Romney, who had just come off an impressive victory in the Florida primary and went on to crush the rest of the GOP candidates in the Nevada caucuses. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania did not begin to surge in public opinion polls in Arizona until after his sweep of the February 7 contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.
–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
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As long as the GOP keeps running, the Dems can just sit back and let the GOP re-elect Obama.
I have a question – when you MAIL in a ballot, what ID is checked????? If every state allows "mail-in" ballots then the MILLIONS of people that are eligible to vote should mail it in!! Well, I'm sure that would never happen especially if the Republicans are in charge!!
I like the idea of voting early. If it gets more people voting, I guess it can't be too bad.
Willard is toast those early ballots are going to help Santorum.