Maricopa County expects to finish counting ballots ‘midweek’




Photo by Jim Small | Arizona Mirror

Maricopa County elections officials say they expect to finish counting ballots sometime midweek, keeping them on pace to finish earlier than they did two years ago.

Maricopa County has as many as 38,359 ballots left to count, depending on how many provisional ballots and unverified early ballots are deemed eligible. At a minimum, there are 18,455 verified early ballots left to count as of Monday morning and 5,270 provisional ballots that have been deemed valid and will be counted.

While the county last week had been tabulating upwards of 75,000 ballots each time it released a new count, the remaining ballots will take longer. Megan Gilbertson, a spokesman for the county elections department, said election officials will release a new tally at 7 p.m. on Monday and that the number of ballots counted will be small, as it was on Sunday, when the county announced results from 7,001 ballots.

The reason those ballots take longer to count is that they are in formats that the county’s machines can’t read, such as Braille ballots, large-print ballots and ballots for military and overseas voters. Other ballots have problems such as tears or coffee stains. Election officials must copy those voters’ selections onto standard ballots that are readable by the machines, which can be a laborious process. 

All ballots in Maricopa County must go through the tabulating machines.

In addition to the remaining early ballots, Maricopa County has 10,930 provisional ballots that must be verified and 3,700 early ballots with unverified signatures. Voters have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to verify their signatures on their early ballots or to remedy their provisional ballots, for example by showing the photo identification that they didn’t bring with them to the polls on Election Day. Maricopa County has deemed 2,200 provisional ballots to be invalid.

Gilbertson predicted the county to finish its count midweek, though she declined to specify which day that might be.

Statewide, there are at least 30,193 and as many as 76,997 ballots left to count, depending on how many provisional and unverified early ballots are determined to be valid. 

There are still a small number of races that could change depending on the final count in Maricopa County. County Recorder Adrian Fontes trails Republican challenger Stephen Richer by 1,928 votes, while Democrat Jevin Hodge still leads incumbent county Supervisor Jack Sellers by 1,256. In the state Senate race for District 28, Democrat Christine Marsh leads Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, by 622 votes. It’s unclear how many of the remaining Maricopa County votes are in each legislative and supervisorial district.