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Republicans vote in Arizona presidential preference election

Many Republicans voting in today’s presidential preference election are turning in their mail-in ballots at the polls or casting provisional ballots. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Paul Atkinson reports.

Sharon Aimes gathers signatures for a congressional candidate outside a polling place at the Islands Community Center in Gilbert. To attract voters, she asks them to take part in a bean pole, where they place a bean in one of four cups with a candidates’ name on it.

“It’s just like a straw pole,” says Aimes.“ And you vote for the person who you think would represent you best as president of the United States.”

A steady stream of voters head in to cast their ballots. At one point, about 10-percent of ballots cast at this polling place were from people dropping off early voting ballots. Jonathan Ricks voted in person because he hadn’t made up his mind until now.

“Personally, I wasn’t sure. I was down to two,” says Ricks. “And me, with Christian background, I prayed about and this person sounded good.”

Other Republicans, like Christina Park, had no doubt which candidate they support.

“I think Romney is a better option than the other ones,” says Park, “so that’s who I voted for.”

As for what attracted them to candidates, voters like Brad Stoops listed these issues:

“The economy, obviously a very big one,” says Brad Stoops. “Foreign policy another big one.We’ve got a lot of stuff going on around the world I think we need new leadership on.”

When it comes to who will win the primary, Sharon Aimes’ bean poll may not be of much help. The candidate cups got knocked over by the wind.

“So we’re not sure we have an accurate count," laughs Aimes.

Polls close at 7 tonight with election results released an hour later.