Breaking News:EVENT: "The Continuing Detention of Senator Leila de Lima," UN Human Rights Council, Geneva and Online

Late Mail-In Ballots Favor Medical Marijuana Turnaround in Arizona (Update: Or Possibly Not)

[Update: Prop 203's numbers have dropped back down again after further counting of late ballots.]

Drug policy reformers were all but reconciled late Tuesday night to a zero-out-of-four year for statewide marijuana initiatives. Along with a moral victory but electoral defeat for California's Proposition 19 legalization measure, medical marijuana initiatives lost decisively in South Dakota and Oregon, and a medical initiative in Arizona, Proposition 203, was down by the frustratingly slim margin of 50.3%-49.7%, with most precincts reporting. Prop 203's support rose to 49.74% later in the night when the remaining precincts were reported.

Lily Rose, cancer survivor and Prop 203 proponent
As an email from Prop 203's main funder, the Marijuana Policy Project, pointed out Wednesday afternoon, though precinct reports had been completed, 290,000 late mail-in ballots (mailed at the last minute or dropped off in their mail-in envelopes at the polls Tuesday) remained to be counted, as did 84,000 provisional ballots (accepted at the polls but with the voters' eligibility in question), according to a press release from the Arizona Secretary of State's office. MPP pointed out that a 52%-48% split in favor of Prop 203 among those late-counted ballots would make up the roughly 7,000 vote difference between the yes and no vote counts.

The question then for Prop 203 partisans was whether those late mail-in and provisional voters are representative of the state as a whole (e.g., the equivalent of a random sample of Arizona voters, in which case one would expect the same statewide split on the initiative), or whether they differ demographically from the state as a whole, in ways that affect that split. A late Thursday afternoon update on the Secretary of State's web site suggests good news for the measure on that front, with an improved 49.86% voting yes on 203, 65,718 additional votes having lowered the vote difference to 3,870. Assuming those votes were mail-ins or provisionals, not additional precinct reports, Prop 203 at that rate could reach 50.4% or even 50.5%.

Observers have speculated that Republican voters may have disproportionately voted early by mail, due to the higher level of motivation prevailing among conservatives this year. More Democrats, by contrast, may have put off voting but responded at the last minute, prompted by get-out-the-vote efforts or the deadline. If so, that would bode well for Prop 203 -- as well as for candidates favored by reformers, such as California Attorney General candidate Kamala Harris, slightly leading arch-opponent of medical marijuana Steve Cooley; or Washington State Rep. reelection candidate Roger Goodman, slightly behind Police Sgt. Kevin Haistings but also closing the gap.

Provisional Arizona voters have until Tuesday, November 9, to bring qualifying identification to their county election offices. Click here for further information of qualifying ID types, or call (602) 542-8683 or (877) THE-VOTE for further information, or (602) 255-8683 for TDD for the hearing impaired.

United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

What nonsense..

the presumption that it would be mostly late democratic voters to make this swing? i am a republican..delivered my mail in ballot to the poll and voted yes for 203 to put an end to the war on patients and our absurd over zealous prosecution of patients

borden's picture

Warrior Poet: We know very

Warrior Poet:

We know very well here that there are Republicans who favor medical marijuana, and even Republicans who favor legalization of drugs. Joe McNamara and Judge Jim Gray, leading advocates for California's Prop 19, are from the conservative side of the fence. That being said, it's a fact that the numbers are far better among Democrats, at least for now.

We're glad to have you here. If there's anything we can do to help you bring more Republicans in your circle on board with the cause, let us know.


with some luck this will pass this round but expect a fight for repeal almost as fast. it might help yes to fashion split campaigns aimed at specific groups..moderate to right leaning individuals as these gorups are the determining factor in a large percentage of any election. regardless would expect to again be voting on this issue in 2012 but the tide has turned past a point of turning back and the abusive social and economic costs of the "drug war" policies of the past should soon go away for all of us hopefully


and yes a news blackout as this is the first projection i have seen since tues/weds. thanks


It is outrageous and demonstrably wrong to state that a particular voter was against Prop 203 because he is a registered Republican. That's the same kind of outrageous stereotyping used by the enemies of freedom when they speak of lazy potheads who do nothing but sit on the couch, eating cheetos and watching reruns of Cheech & Chong movies.

It is demonstrably correct to state that a group of registered Republicans is almost certain to give thumbs down prop 203. Correct in the same way that stating that a group of cannabis consumers are likely to be employed, hard working, and very much caring about the advancement of civilization is correct.

News blackout?

There is virtually no coverage of this story in Phoenix. Gee, wonder why?

legalize...420...USA's picture

Arizona pulling a fast one slowly behind closed doors?

I personally do not trust the police state of Arizona! Is there anyway of demanding a recount if they fix the remaining votes? There has been no coverage of exactly where the remaining votes are from. All very suspicious! What a disappointing state! The people are too afraid to stand up to the system the way Californians do.  Nuremburgh of the Southwest!!! Yes, I am a Californian and we always got what we wanted by making ourselves heard in numbers!!!!!!!

I had wondered

why it was taking so long to count votes -- I live in Chino Valley, and so read both the Republic and the Prescott Courier and after being inundated with fear-based anti-drug propaganda for months, there's been NOTHING, ZERO, NADA, ZIP in either "newspaper" about it since the election.  Now I know, thank you, David, what's going on in my home state.

Election Fraud

I and several people I know believe the state government is rigging this, giving false counts or whatever you want to call it; they don't want to deal with the Fed so they are doing what they want, not what the people want, and falsifying the results in their favor. It wouldn't be the first time election results were false, hello Florida.

legalize...420...USA's picture


If people organize peacefully, we can demand a recount! Anyone have ideas on this if they JUST SAY NO in Arizona?????


Even if Prop 203 were to pass wouldn't the legislature nullify or refuse to enact the law like the last few times voters approved this in AZ?

Prop 203

I'm the cancer survivor shown in that video.  It was my pleasure to share my story in the hopes of swaying voters.  It isn't over yet so we must all remain positive and hopeful!  Many, many seriously ill people need this to pass....NOW!  We will continue our fight even if it takes another 2 years.....we have to for the people suffering.

There are many reasons this race is so tight.  Low voter turn out is one and in the previous elections, we didn't have such loud opposition screaming "reefer madness!" everywhere. 

Not much news in Phx?  Interesting......

Hang in there.....chocolate helps!


borden's picture


Yes, chocolate...

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School