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Record-breaking vote in Maricopa County, Biden maintains lead in new Arizona poll

On 'Sunday Square Off,' we discuss the huge early vote, the key Arizona races, and the challenges for Navajo Nation voters.

PHOENIX — Maricopa County voters set a record for early ballot returns two days before Election Day, topping the entire vote in the 2016 election.

More than 1.6 million ballots have been cast as of Sunday, representing 61 percent of the county's registered voters, according to the county's Elections Department. 

Statewide, Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads Republican President Donald Trump by six points, 49% to 43%, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll released Sunday. 

Arizona polling averages at FiveThirtyEight.com show Biden leading Trump by 3.4 points. Biden has maintained a lead for the last six months.

In 2016, Trump won Arizona by 3.5 points over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In Maricopa County, Biden is ahead of Trump by the same six-point margin, 48% to 42%, according to the poll. 

Maricopa puts the "swing" in swing state Arizona. The 2018 mid-term elections put Maricopa in the "purple" column. 

History shows that the candidate who wins the county - home to more than six of every 10 votes in Arizona - is likely to take the entire state. 

On this weekend's "Sunday Square Off":

- I discuss the county's record-breaking vote and what it could mean for election night results with Paul Bentz, senior vice president at the Phoenix-based consulting firm HighGround. 

- Our panel of Lorna Romero, Republican consultant at Elevate Strategies, and Julie Erfle, Democratic consultant at Erfle Uncuffed, takes on one of the undercovered stories of the election: Will the Arizona Legislature flip from Republican control to Democratic hands? Also, the sharp contrast between  the candidates in the Maricopa County attorney's race is getting national attention.

- Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today, joins us with his insights on whether the Navajo Nation can overcome voting hurdles in this election, and what's behind the surge in Native American women running for office. Indian Country Today, the largest news site covering the indigenous world, will be covering the election results online Tuesday night.

Watch our 12 News "Decision 2020" coverage online and on air, starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

"Sunday Square Off" airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on 12 News, after "Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

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