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Frequently asked questions about Election Day 2020 in Arizona

You can text 12 News at 602-444-1212 with any other election-related questions you have.

PHOENIX — Election Day is officially here.

Voters across Arizona will continue to get the opportunity to cast a ballot and have their voices heard in the 2020 election.

We've been answering your questions about the election all month long, and you can find that information at 12News.com/PlanYourVote

But many of you still have more questions regarding Election Day processes and what will happen post-Election Day. 

Here are some of those questions and answers.

When will polls open and close in Arizona?

Polls across Arizona open at 6 a.m. Tuesday. 

They will close at 7 p.m. 

Results will start to be released at 8 p.m. 

Voters looking to drop off a mail-in ballot can do so at any polling location.

How will 12 News declare winners in the 2020 election?

12 News is the Phoenix-based affiliate station for NBC News. 

We will primarily use NBC News as our guiding source in reporting results on Election Night. However, results are not made official on Election Night.

According to NBC News, the station's Decision Desk "uses exit poll data to determine whether uncompetitive races can be called" early on Election Night. 

"Most races are called based on analyses of precinct- and county-level vote returns," NBC News said in a recent article. 

"The analyses also examine differences between early and Election Day votes. In close contests, a careful analysis of how much of the vote has not been counted is a crucial part of the process."

NBC News said no race is projected until the Decision Desk is at least 99.5% confident of the winner and will not project a winner until after the last scheduled poll-closing time in a state.

If The Associated Press calls a race before NBC News, 12 News will attribute it to The Associated Press, but will be transparent that NBC News has not called that particular race yet.

According to The Associated Press, "a Washington-based analyst for each state is paired with a race caller who studies political history and demographic trends," a recent article reads.

"If it's a state where the presidential contest isn't close, the AP may declare a winner after polls have shut based mostly on interviews conducted with voters through its AP VoteCast survey."

The Associated Press said the closer a race is, the more AP's decision desk relies on actual votes rather than VoteCast. A winner is declared when the AP concludes there's no way the loser can catch up.

How are police preparing for possible post-election violence?

The Phoenix Police Department said in a statement that the department is working with "federal, state and local law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of our community."

The department said it will "monitor activity related to demonstrations and responses will be determined by intelligence driven information."

More officers and other personnel will be "mobilized" for Election Day, the department said. Officials are also urging people to say something if they see anything of concern. 

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said in a statement to 12 News that it has been working with county elections officials with other law enforcement agencies "to ensure the security of polling locations on Election Day."

The sheriff's office said it would respond to any "civil unrest that is in violation of any laws."

The sheriff's office also said it has added anyone from its citizen posse who has "successfully completed the course and passed the background check" to a roster that Sheriff Mark Lamb has access to. 

If Lamb has to call upon them, the citizens posse members "would be under the direction of our sworn deputies and their sergeants. They would be designated to assist with things such as enforcing road closures, directing traffic, or preventative labor, such as helping board up windows. This would allow us to free up deputies for patrol and other peace officer specific duties."

If you have any more election-related questions, please text them to 602-444-1212. 


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