Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

November 12, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Election Returns Update

  |   Video
  • Maricopa County Recorder, Helen Purcell discusses the election, voter turnout and the ongoing processing of ballots.
Guests:
  • Helen Purcell - Maricopa County Recorder
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>> Election Day has come and gone but workers continue to process a record number of provisional and early ballots. County recorder Helen Purcell is here with an election update. First David Majure shows us why there's still a lot of work to do before this election is over.

David Majure
>> These plastic bins are filled to the brim with thousands of ballots from Maricopa County.

Karen Osborne
>> Well, it's kind of double stacked back there.

David Majure
>> They're provisional ballots, 112,000 of them, more than ever before.

Karen Osborne
>> This is substantially bigger. We had I think the largest we've ever had was 60,000 before. You know, we had a lot more people voting this time.

David Majure
>> Provisional ballots are those cast by voters who showed up to the polls without proper identification or with I.D. that didn't -- that didn't show their current address.

Karen Osborne
>> You have to have two pieces of I.D. that have your correct address on it or you have to have your driver's license that matches. That's always a concern. And you can't use your military I.D. which is really tough because it doesn't have an address on it. And I wish we could get that changed. And you can't use your passport because it doesn't have an address.

David Majure
>> Provisional ballots are not immediately included in the county's election results.
Karen Osborne
>> Everything back here has not been counted.

David Majure
>> And they won't be counted unless election officials prove they're valid, something they'll continue to work on for about another week.

David Majure
>> Meanwhile, other workers are dealing with damaged ballots.

Karen Osborne
>> These are ballots that have gone through the computer and they've been kicked out because they have a --

David Majure
>> Duplication boards comprised of two people from opposite political parties are assigned to look at those ballots and determine the voter's intent.

Karen Osborne
>> If they voted a ballot and they used a Sharpie, or an instrument that's going to bleed through and it bleeds through the ballot, it will actually cause a vote to be cast on the other side of the ballot that was never intended by the voter. So we go through those by hand to make sure.

David Majure
>> Duplication boards reproduce the damaged ballot.


Karen Osborne
>> They make a brand-new ballot.

Worker
>> Yes.

David Majure
>> One the computers can properly read.

Karen Osborne
>> So they go through and make sure that we can reclaim those votes so that they don't lose their vote and they don't overvote what they didn't intend.

Ted Simons
>> Joining me now is the person in charge of making sure all those ballots are counted, Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell. Nice to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

Helen Purcell
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons
>> Let's talk about where we stand right now with ballots that have yet to be recorded.

Helen Purcell
>> Well, we have a number of ballots that have to be counted. We've got about 112,000, we think, provisional ballots. Of those in our preliminary investigation of those, it appears that about 30% are not good. So we'll be counting about 70% of that 112,000. Then we have about 42,000 of the duplicated ballots. These are ones where the ballots come in, somebody has used an instrument that maybe bleeds through on the back of the ballot or the front of the ballot. And those have to be duplicated. Had about 89,000 of those this time. We are about halfway through that process. We will continue that.

Ted Simons
>> Is this timetable pretty much the norm? I mean, is it going faster, slower than usual?

Helen Purcell
>> It's going a little bit slower just because of the sheer volume. We have more this time. Percentage-wise we don't have any more but we have more. But we scheduled our canvas for the 24th of November. And we're probably going to be right up maybe to the 21st of November in completing this process, giving us time to do the preparation of the canvas over the weekend.

Ted Simons
>> For some of the provisional ballots, what kind of verification process goes on?

Helen Purcell
>> It's a very long and tedious process. We have to make sure, did that person -- were they in the right polling place? First of all are they registered? Are they in the right polling place? Did they have a proper I.D.? Did they vote the ballot, that type of thing. So there's an investigational process you have to go through before you decide if you can count that ballot. And are they even eligible for this election. We have young people when they turn 18, they can register. They can register before they turn 18 as long as they're going to be 18 by the next general election. Some of them may have registered in the summertime. They're really not going to be 18 until January. So they were not qualified for this election.

Ted Simons
>> Wow! Let's talk about voter turnout, the numbers. What was it the last -- or as best you can tell now, what kind of percentage did we have?

Helen Purcell
>> We're at about 73% today with what we have counted so far. And I think in looking at what we have left, what we think we have left to count, we'll be close to that 80% when we finish.

Ted Simons
>> I was going to say. Because early on there was talk about 65% or 68%. That's much lower than usual. What the heck's going on. You're saying it's going to creep back up.

Helen Purcell
>> Because you've got all those provisionals and you've got the duplicated ballots, the early ballots that were not turned in. Yes, on election day it looked like we only had 63% but that's coming slowly up for all the counties, not just Maricopa.

Ted Simons
>> What kind of problems were reported on voting day?


Helen Purcell
>> We really didn't have that many problems. As you remember, you and I talked about long lines and so forth. We did not see those. We had lines more in the morning than usual. But by 10:00 those lines were gone. At the 7:00 closing I think we only had about four polling places that did not close right at 7:00. By 9:00 we were about 95% in of all of our precincts being counted.

Ted Simons
>> And again is that pretty much the norm? Is that better, worse than usual?

Helen Purcell
>> That's about the norm.

Ted Simons
>> On election night we waited a long time to get even the slightest bit of news out of Pima County. Without getting too deeply into this because that's not your region down there, but is there a reason why it takes them longer than it does the rest of the state?

Helen Purcell
>> The board of supervisors has not authorized them to electronically send their results in from the precincts to the central count. We take ours out of the precinct to a MPS site that is close to the precinct. We have 22 of them around the county and they come into the central count. If you have to drive everything into a central place that's going to take longer.

Ted Simons
>> Last question. How many races can you tell right now that are still out there that it looks like it's just still too close to all?

Helen Purcell
>> We still have the corporation commission, both statewide and in Maricopa County, you have the mayor's race in Scottsdale, you've got the mayor's race in Wickenburg, you've got a couple of small races that are still out there.

Ted Simons
>> And that still has a couple of weeks to go then, huh? At least. Well, Helen, thank you so much for the update and thanks for joining us.

Helen Purcell
>> Thank you.

The Election and the Economy

  |   Video
  • Arizona State University professors talk about how an Obama administration may affect the economy.
Guests:
  • Dr. Anthony Sanders, Professor of Finance and Real Estate, Arizona State University
  • Dr. Tim James - Associate Professer, W.P. Carey Economics, Arizona State University
Category: Business/Economy

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>> Hello and welcome to Horizon. I’m Ted Simons. President-elect Barack Obama ran on a platform of positive change. And that's certainly something our economy could use right now. Job losses and foreclosures continue to grow. And government officials keep looking for answers in stimulus plans and financial bailouts. Here to share their views are experts from Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, Dr. Anthony Sanders, professor of Finance and Real Estate and Finance Stand Economic Director Dr. Tim James thank you for joining us on Horizon. Main Street spoke. So now what can Main Street expect from an Obama administration?

Anthony Sanders
>> Well, we're definitely going to see a different type of economic plan going forward. We think. I mean, he hasn't finalized anything yet. But in addition to catching Valley Fever, some of us are going to see higher taxes as well. And I think Robert Rice summed it up nicely where he says Obama believes in a bottom up type of redistribution of wealth to stimulate the economy at the lower levels and hopefully that will percolate up to the top. And that's what we're seeing on hand.

Ted Simons
>> What are you seeing from an Obama administration?

Tim James
>> I would think an early stimulus package. I think the economy is in a bad way. Various elements of the stimulus package are likely to be some sort of spending on infrastructure, and other kind of Bush bailout in terms of trying to ramp up consumer spending. Some attempt to bail out the states because of falling revenues. All those things packaged together in some sort of large stimulus package that may span the two administrations.

Ted Simons
>> Talk about the concept of a stimulus package, the idea of whether or not what the Bush administration did -- and that's to send out some checks as opposed to some of the things we're talking about which is infrastructure.

Anthony Sanders
>> Well, the checks that you got from the stimulus are generally short run in nature. They may actually provide kind of a pop in consumer spending over about six months, maybe a little longer if you're lucky. But those kind would be short-term in nature and they don't really provide a -- we're looking for something that's a little longer term in nature. We need something. And that's where I think some of the works packages he's talking about may actually at least provide for some segment of the population employment, stability and grow the economy in part --
Ted Simons
>> How much does consumer confidence play into all of this?

Anthony Sanders
>> Well, consumer confidence is incredibly important. But given what we're doing in terms of the bank bailout, I think there's kind of a loss of confidence that's going on right now, particularly since the -- for example we started TARP, troubled asset relief program. Now it's suddenly something troubled something relief program. Now troubled bank relief program or A.I.G. or whatever we're going to put under the TARP. No longer loans.

Ted Simons
>> You'll be testifying in front of congress I believe late this week on just this?

Anthony Sanders
>> Friday I’m testifying on tarp, what we should be doing with TARP or what we're not going to with TARP now. And what's the Obama administration going to be doing with the loans and everything. Arizona is just so important.

Ted Simons
>> I want to get back to consumer confidence and how important that is. Is there an overreaction right now from the markets, from the banks, from consumers, from just about everyone?

Tim James
>> It's difficult to judge whether there's an overreaction. Nobody I think truly knows how bad things are actually likely to turn out to be. People are re-estimating, constantly reforecasting how bad the recession will be. I think the latest estimates tell us that things aren't going to really start to recover until 2010 and then we won't get back to long run growth until 2011. In the context of that, describing a consumer as being overreactive is quite difficult. Because a lot of people are probably particularly worried about their own circumstances and their own job security in that environment.

Ted Simons
>> So in that environment, what can a President Obama do or maybe just even say to get that confidence up a little bit and to get people out there, not being so afraid to spend money?

Tim James
>> I think that's really -- that is the acid question as it were in relation to where we are at the moment. How do we get consumer confidence back to a level where people still feel happy to go out and spend money. And to go back to an old phrase, it's the $64,000 I think there'll be a little bit of an Obama bounce associated with the new administration and a honeymoon period that may be reflected to some extent in terms of people's attitude towards their own existence. Maybe that would make them a little bit more confident. But I think fundamentally what we've got to do is put more spending back into the economy. And I think a stimulus package is just what we really need at the moment in order for to us do that.

Ted Simons
>> Stimulus package makes sense to you. But is that really the best that an Obama administration can do right at the start?


Anthony Sanders
>> In the short run. I think what he's talking about is he wants to come out of the chute, he wants to come out hard, he wants to do something. Stimulus packages are great for that. But once again, if it's simply like a 1500, $2,000 check, that does not go very far these days. I mean, certain types of goods and services. But it doesn't really pick up the economy. It has to be done in conjunction with something else. And again, economists like he and I could probably spend the rest of the night -- I’m a big tax cut type of person. My guess is he is a big tax increase type of person. Trying to get a debate going here. [laughter] But no, I think tax cuts in the long run will have a lot to do. But again, do we spending cuts or increase spending? A different philosophy.

Tim James
>> Don't paint me into an European heavy taxer. Like now is almost a perfect time to think about a stimulus package. In many circumstances in the past it would have been the wrong policy. But what we're facing now really is a case where the standard method of coping with some of these problems, interest rate policy or monetary policy, is not going to be as effective as it would have been normally. You know, without an incredibly low interest rate there's not very much further we can go down in terms of reducing interest rates to try and stimulate the activity. And the other thing that's not going to work with us with monetary policy and interest rate policy is that banks aren't necessarily going to pass on any interest rate reductions onto Main Street. So what we're left with, in the circumstances we face, is really -- a really strong healthy stimulus package that will not totally dig us out of the hole we're in but will offer us the opportunity to maybe not make things quite as badly as they would otherwise have been. I’m not saying this thing is going to sweep away all our worries in one go. What I’m saying is if we just leave the markets the way they would normally go we're going to end up with a much worse recession than we would otherwise do if we spent money wisely.

Ted Simons
>> Other than a stimulus plan, what other ideas, homeowners, lengthening the terms and low, the interest rates and these sorts of things, helping out, American Express, the airline industry, the auto industry, are all these things going to be coming into play?

Anthony Sanders
>> All of them are coming into play. Unfortunately there's simply not or b nor should we do it. There's arguments to be made for G.M. and Ford that maybe we should let them fail and pick up the pieces and reassemble them into more successful company models. Those are questions we really have to debate. But in terms of the mortgage market, particularly in the lower three corner meaning Arizona, Nevada and California, we have people that are 20, 30, 40% upside down in their mortgages. Right now the plans they're talking about in the administration are only if you go 90 days late. And I’m saying this is like the movie "The Perfect Storm" where you have that huge wave at the end. We're sitting here. We're going to see a lot of people throw their keys at the lender. So should we be advocating a preemptive strategy of marketing loans to market which means rather than holding the book value, lowering to what the current property value is. This is a pre-emptive thing to reduce the cost of bankruptcies and slow the wave down.

Ted Simons
>> All the action taken so far by the government, has it loosened credit?


Anthony Sanders
>> Not really, no. That's why the market -- part of the reason why the market's down today is everything they're doing, everything they're injecting into their veins of the financial system, it's working a little bit. We're seeing some spreads. Even MBS spreads have widened again because there's kind of a belief now we're not going to really clear off the troubled assets off the bank books so we're back to square one, more capital into the bank.

Ted Simons
>> Do you see the same thing?

Tim James
>> Evidence of monetary policy is going to be ineffective. That's where we need to go for a stronger stimulus package. Good infrastructure spending in the states.

Ted Simons
>> Very good. Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us on Horizon.

Anthony Sanders
>> Thanks for having you us.

Valley Fever Update

  |   Video
Guests:
  • Rebecca Sunenshine - State Deputy Epidemiologist


View Transcript

Ted Simons
>> Coming up, a warning about Valley Fever. But first here's how to read a transcript and watch video of this and other Horizon programs online.

Ted Simons
>> When you're finished watching Horizon don't forget to check our website for many extras. Go to azpbs.org/Horizon. Once you're on our home page, click on the word Horizon under the public affairs section. That will take you to the Horizon home page where you can access many features to help you become better informed. The first feature you may notice is video of the previous night's show. Click on the play button and you'll see and hear the latest segments from our program. If you'd like to view previous segments, just click on archives right above the video box. Once you select a show, you'll have access to a summary of topics, a guest list, a transcript, and video. Back on Horizon's home page you can see what's coming up on Horizon. If you'd like to be alerted about topics you can sign up for an RSS Feed. Maybe you'd like an audio podcast of the Horizon program. That's also available on our home page. You can also check out the latest Cronkite Eight Poll or order a D.V.D. of the show. Horizon also educates viewers beyond the scope of the program. Our website links you to hundreds of informative sites used over the years by Horizon producers. Horizon is especially known for its political coverage. We provide links to the contact lawmakers. Horizon home page is a full service website for those who want to keep up with what's happening in Arizona.

Ted Simons
>> Cases of Valley Fever are on the rise. And here to tell us more about this disease is Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, the state's deputy epidemiologist. Thanks for being on Horizon.

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons
>> Let's get to the basics here. What is Valley Fever, how do you get it?

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> Valley Fever is a fungal disease. It's predominant in the southwestern United States and also part of Central and South America. You get it by inhaling the fungal spore from the soil. So on a dusty or windy day you can inhale the fungus into your lungs and that's what typically causes Valley Fever.

Ted Simons
>> Is there a cure for Valley Fever?

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> There actually is no cure for Valley Fever. We do have treatment available. There are some drugs that treat it. Unfortunately, they cannot completely get rid of the disease. And folks who have severe Valley Fever or disseminated Valley Fever that spreads to all over the body, those folks need to be on medication sometimes lifelong.

Ted Simons
>> Was going to ask, I've heard that Valley Fever can spread throughout the body. You're saying that indeed happens.

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> Absolutely. So out of about 100 infections of Valley Fever, about 60% of people will have absolutely no symptoms at all or very mild symptoms and not even know they have the disease. But the other 40% will have symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, cough, and especially prolonged fatigue. Of those, about three or four of them actually have severe disease which spreads throughout the body and those are the ones that require therapy and sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Ted Simons
>> Do those symptoms come on fast? They come on quickly? Are they the kinds of things where you just notice that you've been tired lately or your cough won't go away?

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> It really is a continuum. Some people will say I feel like I have a flu-like illness. But what we're hearing from a lot of people is that they'll complain of fatigue and maybe cough and shortness of breath for many months. In fact, when we looked at our enhanced survey in state which we did in 2007, we found that average amount of time that people we interviewed reported symptoms was six months. So it's not just a cold or the influenza. It lasts a lot longer.

Ted Simons
>> Can you have a low-grade version of it? Not feeling yourself but not feeling so bad that you think you need to see a doctor or you think you have to go to the emergency room?

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> Probably those folks fall somewhere in the -- sorry, the 60% that we would consider asymptomatic so. People who don't really even know sick at all are probably in that 60%. And we know for sure that we don't capture any of those people at the health department. The people that we capture feel sick enough for long enough that they go to the doctor and they're lucky enough to get tested by their doctor for Valley Fever. And health department. So we know that numbers that we have are far less than the actual number of cases out there.

Ted Simons
>> Let's talk about those numbers. How much of an increase are you seeing?

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> Well, what we saw back in 1997 when only doctors were reporting were just a couple thousand cases a year approximately. And what we had in 2006 at our peak was 5,535 cases. And last year we had almost 5,000 cases. So that is a lot of Valley Fever. And what we know is that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's estimated that there's actually about 90,000 case of Valley Fever in Arizona per year.

Ted Simons
>> The reason that people wait so long or the reason that it's misdiagnosed, is it because they think it's something else? Doctors think it's something else?

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> You know, it's really hard to know. What we do know is that patients wait an average of 45 days. So about a month and a half. Before they even go to seek care for their Valley Fever. And we also know that it takes about three visits to a health care provider before physicians actually test them for the disease. So that's why the Arizona department of health services is launching a huge educational campaign to get doctors to test earlier, to think of Valley Fever when folks come in with respiratory symptoms, cough, fever, fatigue. And also to get patients to think of it. And when they have those symptoms, ask to get tested for Valley Fever.

Ted Simons
>> Impact on the health care system. It sounds like a lot of patients, sounds like it's growing, sounds like a pretty big impact.

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> Well, we had like I said about 5,000 cases in 2007. And we were able to interview every tenth case. What we learned was that almost half of those patients actually had to go to the emergency room for their illness at some time during their illness. So that's a lot of the E.R. visits for Valley Fever. About 40% of them actually were hospitalized overnight for the disease. And about the same number had to see their doctor more than 10 times for the illness, which is just a tremendous impact on the health care system as you can imagine.
Ted Simons
>> With all this in mind, is there anything you can do to avoid getting Valley Fever if you live here in the Valley?

Rebecca Sunsenshine
>> That's a great question. And that's something that we're really working on. Right now if you live in Arizona, you are at risk for potentially getting the disease. So what we really want folks to do is know the symptoms, know what they are, and if you feel like you've had prolonged cough, fever, fatigue, for more than a week or two, ask your doctor to test you. What we are doing is working with our partners at T-Gen and university of Arizona and they're working on treatment and vaccine for Valley Fever. That is the ultimate prevention. We're hoping that eventually we will get a vaccine and that way we can prevent it in Arizonans.

Ted Simons
>> Very quickly I understand if you get Valley Fever you're not likely to get it again but you can.

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> Exactly. The vast majority of people that get Valley Fever get over it and never get it again. But there's a very small percentage that if later in life their immune system is depressed that it may come back.

Ted Simons
>> All right. Well, excellent information. Thank you so much for sharing with us on Horizon.

Rebecca Sunenshine
>> Thank you.

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