Brigette Peterson

Brigette Peterson

It’s official: Brigette Peterson is Gilbert’s new mayor come January.

Town Council in a special virtual meeting last Monday approved 6-0 to adopt the results of the November General Election. Councilwoman Aimee Yentes was absent.

The official vote count saw Peterson with 70,426 votes to challenger Matt Nielsen’s 53,121.

Peterson, a longtime presence at Town Hall, gained the edge early on Nov. 3 and increased her lead as the votes were counted.

 Before Peterson resigned midway in her second term on the Council to run for mayor, she was a 14-year veteran of the town’s Planning Commission.

Nielsen was a political newcomer who ran on a conservative platform of limited government.

A total of 146,003 or 85.45 percent of the town’s 170,856 registered voters, cast a ballot during the election. 

Turnout far surpassed the 2018 General Election, which saw 67.95 percent of registered voters casting a ballot box and the 80.31 percent turnout in the 2016 General Election.

Of the total count for Gilbert, 133,415 voters cast early ballots while just 12,331 actually voted on Election Day, according to Maricopa County elections officials. Additionally, 257 were provisional ballots.

All the precincts in Gilbert showed 80 percent and above for voter turnout.

The council’s canvass of the election results followed shortly after Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved it on Nov. 20.

According to election officials, over 2 million or 80.51 percent of the county’s voters turn out to vote in the middle of a pandemic with a record-breaking 1.1 million voters who visited a Maricopa County Vote Center or Ballot Drop Box, according to a news release. 

While President Trump and many in the GOP camp are disputing the results of the election, Maricopa County leaders had no problem with the count.

“We’ve canvassed the General Election results and can assure Maricopa County voters proper steps were taken to ensure a full and accurate count of all votes,” said board Chairman Clint Hickman. “No matter how you voted, this election was administered with integrity, transparency and in accordance with state laws.”

Supervisor Jack Sellers of District 1, which includes Gilbert, also voiced support of the final tally.

“In a very challenging environment, Maricopa County was able to complete a secure and fair election. I am satisfied that we have accurate results,” said Sellers, in the release. 

“Even with a pandemic and other distractions, our election workers were able to maintain professionalism and count ballots faster than ever before with 100-percent accuracy and transparency.”

Sellers toward the end pulled out a victory against newcomer Jevin Hodge, who prematurely announced victory a day after Nov. 4.

Three days after Nov. 3, the county Elections Department had already counted 2 million ballots, and finalized its count in 10 days. 

In 2018, it took 14 days to count 1.4 million ballots. In 2016, it took 10 days to count 1.6 million ballots, according to the release.