- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on Arizona’s special election Tuesday (all times local):

10:40 p.m.

The fate of a plan that would pump $3.5 billion in new money into Arizona’s K-12 school system over 10 years was hanging by a thread late Tuesday.

Voters statewide were backing Proposition 123 by slightly more than the 50 percent it needs to win. Maricopa County and many smaller counties had completed counts of Election Day ballots late in the night.

That means final results won’t be known until Wednesday at the earliest, and likely later in the week.

Maricopa County has an estimated 50,000 early ballots to count that were dropped off before Election Day. Elections Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Bartholomew says it’s likely another 100,000 early ballots were dropped off at the polls.

Proposition 123 was losing in three of 15 counties - Pima, Coconino and Yavapai.

8:35 p.m.

The president of the state’s largest firefighters union is calling Tuesday’s election results on a pension overhaul plan a landslide victory for public safety officers and taxpayers.

Bryan Jeffries of the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona says the lopsided tally in support of Proposition 124 puts an underfunded pension system back on a path to full funding. The measure was leading with 70 percent of the early votes.

The measure cuts future cost-of-living increases for retired police and firefighters. It is part of a broader pension overhaul enacted earlier this year.

That change is designed to help the retirement system for public safety officers recover from a major drop in the plan’s funded status. The funding level has sunk to just 50 percent of its expected liabilities.

8:24 p.m.

Early returns from 12 of 15 Arizona counties show a plan that would pump $3.5 billion in new money into the state’s K-12 school system over 10 years leading by a narrow margin.

Results posted by the Arizona Secretary of State Tuesday night show Proposition 123 ahead in all but Pima and Coconino counties. But the margin was slim, just a couple percentage points.

A second measure called Proposition 124 that changes the police and firefighter pension system is leading by a much wider margin - nearly 70 percent of voters were approving the plan.

The initial counts come from early ballots.

Proposition 123 is designed to settle a long-running school funding lawsuit. The changes contained in Proposition 124 lower cost of living increases for current and future public safety retirees.

Results from three small counties - Apache, Graham and La Paz - were not yet posted.

8:10 p.m.

Early returns from Maricopa, Yuma and Gila counties show a plan that would pump $3.5 billion in new money into the state’s K-12 school system over 10 years leading by a healthy margin.

Early results posted by the Arizona Secretary of State Tuesday night show Proposition 123 ahead in all three counties.

A second measure called Proposition 124 that changes the police and firefighter pension system is also leading by a much wider margin.

The early counts come from early ballots.

Proposition 123 is designed to settle a long-running school funding lawsuit. The changes contained in Proposition 124 lower cost of living increases for current and future public safety retirees.

7 p.m.

Polls have closed in Arizona’s special election on education funding and pension overhaul measures without any sign of the long lines and other problems seen during March’s presidential primary.

Initial results are expected at about 8 p.m. Tuesday with posting of counted early ballots.

The four most populous counties in the state mailed out more than 1.8 million early ballots. More than 42 percent of those ballots had been returned by Monday morning.

One volunteer at a polling location in South Phoenix said they hadn’t had more than a dozen voters all day. Workers at locations around Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe and Scottsdale said they hadn’t seen any lines.

That bodes well for Maricopa County as it looks to avoid a repeat of the long lines seen during the March presidential primary by nearly doubling the amount of voting centers from the 60 it used in March.

9:45 a.m.

Lines at polling locations in Phoenix were short or non-existent as voters headed to the polls for Arizona’s special election on pension overhaul and education funding measures.

The county nearly doubled the number of voting centers from the 60 it used in the March presidential primary to avoid a repeat of the long lines.

Phoenix voter Ashlee Gonzales, 26, said she wasn’t surprised to see so few people at a polling location in downtown Phoenix. Fewer voters turn out for special elections, she said.

The four most populous counties in the state mailed out more than 1.8 million early ballots. More than 42 percent of those ballots have been returned by Monday morning.

6:30 a.m.

Polling places are open for Arizona’s special election on education funding and pension overhaul measures.

Polls are to remain open until 7 p.m. Initial results are to be released starting at 8 p.m.

Tuesday’s election will test the success of efforts Maricopa County took to avoid a repeat of the long lines seen during the March presidential primary.

The county nearly doubled the number of voting centers from the 60 it used in March. And because independents who make up the largest voting bloc in the state are eligible this time, county elections department spokeswoman Elizabeth Bartholomew says officials hope to see much smoother voting.

The four most populous counties in the state mailed out more than 1.8 million early ballots. More than 42 percent of those ballots have been returned by Monday morning.

1:05 a.m.

Voters across Arizona are heading to the polls to decide the fate of education funding and pension overhaul measures in a special election.

Tuesday’s election will also test the success of efforts Maricopa County took to avoid a repeat of the long lines seen during the March presidential primary.

The county nearly doubled the number of voting centers from the 60 it used in March. And because independents who make up the largest voting bloc in the state are eligible this time, county elections department spokeswoman Elizabeth Bartholomew says officials hope to see much smoother voting.

The four most populous counties in the state mailed out more than 1.8 million early ballots. More than 42 percent of those ballots have been returned by Monday morning.

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