Editor's note: An appeals court overturned a longer extension of Arizona's voter registration deadline, which means the deadline to register to vote is now Thursday, Oct. 15. 

Time sure does fly when you're in a pandemic and believe it or not it's almost October. Which means we're just a few short (or long) weeks away from the 2020 general election.

Pima County residents are doing a good job registering to vote, with a record number of voters registered so far (more than 611,000 and counting). 

If you haven't registered to vote yet, don't worry you still have time. But don't wait too long, the voter registration deadline is quickly approaching on Thursday, Oct. 15.

Here's a handy guide with information about registering to vote and all the ways you can cast your ballot. 

Important dates: 

  • Thursday, Oct. 15 - Last day to register to vote
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7 - The first date ballots are mailed to those on the Permanent Early Voter List or who have requested a mail-in ballot for this election. 
  • Friday, Oct. 23 - The last day to request a vote by mail ballot
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3 - Election Day

Register to vote

The last day to register to vote is Thursday, Oct. 15. Luckily, registering is a super easy task you can do online from home in a matter of minutes.

The Pima County Recorder's Office has a voter registration information page where you'll find the list of voter registration eligibility requirements and a link to register to vote

Check or update your voter registration

Already registered to vote? Awesome! It's still a good idea though to spend a few minutes to check your voter registration.

You'll be able to confirm your registration is still active, if you're on the Permanent Early Voter List to always receive your ballot in the mail, what address you have on file and links to your polling location if you want to vote in person. 

If you need to make any changes to your voter registration including updates to your name, address, political party you'll need to fill out a new voter registration form here

If you want to see if you're signed up to receive your ballot by mail you can check here. And, if you're not signed up to receive your ballot by mail, but you want to fill out the ballot by mail request here, the last day to request a mail-in ballot is Friday, Oct. 23 by 5 p.m. Receiving your ballot by mail means you can return it early and with little to no contact with others, helping slow the spread of COVID-19. 

How to cast your vote

Ok, so you're registered and all your info is up-to-date, now you actually have to close the loop and vote. 

There are three main ways to cast your ballot: by mail; dropping off your early ballot at a physical location; or voting in person early or on Election Day. Here's what to know about each option:

Voting by mail: Ballots will be mailed out to voters beginning Wednesday, Oct. 7 for those who receive early ballots by mail. Follow the instructions on your ballot and put it in your mailbox.

If you're sending your ballot from within Pima county, the recorder's office reccommends that you get your ballot in the mail by Tuesday, Oct. 27 to make sure it arrives for processing on time. But, you should probably send it in as soon as its ready just to be on the safe side. You do not have to add any postage to your return envelope, doing so could delay your ballot. 

Ballot drop off locations: If you prefer to return your early ballot to a physical location instead of through the mail you can take it to any curbside ballot drop off sites starting on Monday, Oct. 19. These sites will be staffed with elections workers and you just have to drive up and a staffer will collect your ballot while you remain in your vehicle.

Ballots can also be dropped off inside at the Pima County Recorder's Office locations starting Oct. 7 and at some early voting sites beginning Oct. 19. 

Voting in person: Early voting sites open as early as Oct. 7 and you can find the full list of locations, hours and services offered here (some even have evening hours).

If you're waiting to vote in person on Election Day (Nov. 3), you can find your polling place here. You must vote at the polling place assigned to your residence address.

If you are headed to the polls to vote in person be sure to bring the proper ID

How to check the status of your ballot

Once your ballot has left your hands and is in the hands of elections officials, you can check its status on the recorder's website

The Pima County Recorder's Office said on Friday, Oct. 16, that it's received a record amount of early ballot returns and it is causing a delay in how long it takes to update the tracking system. 

“We want people to know that if they’ve mailed their ballot, dropped it off, or voted early, we’ve got their ballot. They just need to be patient and it will show up on the tracker in two or three days,” Rodriguez said in a news release. 

Rodriguez says employees are working to shifts every day of the week, including weekends to keep up with the volume and prepare ballots for tabulation. 

For more information

The Pima County Recorder's Office has a list of FAQ's and more information on its website. You can also call the office 520-724-4330 to ask any questions about voting. Pima County also has put together a on-stop resource for voting information on the Vote Safe website

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