Hundreds of thousands of ballots pending

Vote counting is delayed for a fifth day in Arizona as Americans await the results of hundreds of thousands of early ballots cast on Election Day.

Election officials from Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, reported the results of 74,951 votes Friday night that went Democratic. Immediately after the results came in, the Associated Press called the US Senate race for Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and the Secretary of State race for Democrat Adrian Fontes.

Statewide results in four of the state’s most important races were as follows as of 4:13 p.m. eastern Saturday, with 83 percent of the total vote reported, according to the New York Times:

US Senate race

  • Kelly: 1,128,917 – 51.8 percent
  • Republican Blake Masters: 1,005,001 – 46.1 percent
  • Libertarian Marc Victor: 46,189 – 2.1 percent

Governor Race:

  • Democrat Katie Hobbs: 1,100,005 – 50.7 percent
  • Republican Lake Kari: 1,068,908 – 49.3 percent

General Prosecutor of Agona:

  • Democrat Chris Mayes: 1,074,673 – 50.45 percent
  • Republican Abe Hamadeh: 1,055,522 – 49.55

Secretary of State Race:

  • Funds: 1,129,144 – 52.8 percent
  • Republican Mark Finchem: 1,011,019 – 47.2 percent

Heading into Friday night, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said the majority of the drop would include early ballots rejected on Election Day. He added that it would also include the remainder of early ballots received before Election Day, as well as “a good amount” of the roughly 17,000 ballots from in-person voters whose ballots were placed in secure boxes after the sorters failed to they read at the polling stations.

In a news release, Maricopa County officials said an estimated 265,000-275,000 ballots remained pending after Friday night’s results and said the breakdown of those remaining ballots was:

  • Estimated Election Day Ballots to be Reported: 5,000
  • Estimated early ballots remaining to be processed and sorted: 254,000
  • Estimated number of early ballots remaining to be treated: 13,000
  • Estimated provisional ballots remaining for investigation: 1,114 (7,885 total)

ABC 15 data analyst Stephen Archer offered insight into why Friday’s ballot drop favored Democrats when the majority of ballots were on Election Day early voting that was thought to have broken for Republicans.

Note that the drop included ballots from across the county, “but there was a pooling of ballots from South Phoenix,” which explained the bundle of votes that favored Democrats. The data analyst he claimed Friday night when the “GOP calvary comes” as a batch of 114,000 Election Day ballots that have been “transmitted to the polling station will be broken in favor” of Republican Kari Lake. These were not included in Friday night’s results and it is unclear when they will be announced.

He later added that “based on the affidavit forwarding party data, we still have some very, very friendly lots coming in for R slate in Maricopa.”

Another batch of ballots is expected to drop around 8:00 p.m. local time and “[m]Most of the pending ballots are from vote-rich GOP strongholds,” Archer tweeted Saturday.

“Probably worth a point or two in the grand total for the GOP plate.” He added. “As I said before: The edge of the knife.”

Box Three Ballots ‘Combined’ with Tabulated Votes at Two Maricopa Vote Centers

On Friday, Masters appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight and told host Tucker Carlson that the ballots from the 17,000 Election Day voters that were not read by the voters and not submitted to Box Three were “mixed up … with ballots that had already counted.”

“So it’s a huge disaster, it’s a huge mess trying to untangle these ballots,” he added. “I think the most honest thing at this point would be for Maricopa County to wipe the slate clean and just take all the ballots and do a recount.”

Gates acknowledged to CNN that the three ballots were “combined” with in-person voting on Election Day into “two ballots” and said the county has a process for separating the ballots:

There were two polling centers where the ballots that went into block three were actually combined with the ballots that went through the board. Here’s the thing, we can absolutely deal with it and we will. In these two cases we know exactly how many people checked in at that polling station. We can then check the total number of ballots left there, either in table or box three, and determine if they are the same. We can sort out those on the outside and decide and best of all, we’ll do that with Republican and Democratic observers watching to make sure everything is in check.

He added that “every single one of those votes will be tabulated” and that “wiping that slate” and “recounting” is “not permitted under Arizona law.”

Hand count control begins on Saturday

At a news conference Friday, Gates noted that a “hand count check” in Maricopa County was set to begin Saturday:

This is a very important part of the process, it is required under Arizona law and this hand measurement check allows us to ensure that the machines are working properly. This will be statistics significant number of ballots to participate and there are two parties. First of all, there are the early polls – they are the early polls, the postal votes – and those have really been picked, the lots have been picked over the last few weeks by the political parties…

So they identified lots, and then there was also a draw on Wednesday to choose the polling centers involved in that and there are five Polling Centers, I believe. Interestingly, they are all from the west valley, but they were chosen at random, and we will look at a few matches, so it is not the number of hands of all matches.

He added that the races involved in the audit will be “US Congress, State Rep., Propr 129 and the governor.”

“So again, this is mandated by law and we’re very confident that it’s going to go well, but these are three-person boards,” Gates said.

Megan Gilbertson, Director of Communications for the Maricopa County Department of Elections, said the Vote Centers included in the audit are “Flight Goodyear, Journey Church, Estrella Foothills High School, Maryville Bridge and Sevilla Elementary.”

Polling locations were randomly selected out of a hat by the county’s three political party chairmen.

Gilbertson added that “statistically significant” “means that there are enough ballots selected in it to ensure that the sorting equipment is counting the ballots accurately.”

“There is a vote count verification committee in the state of Arizona that picks that margin and is able to make sure that the ballots that are counted will make sure that the counting equipment is counting those ballots accurately, so it’s just one more check on the system,” she added.

“It’s by law, so it’s one percent of early ballots, or five thousand, whichever is less. So here in Maricopa County, we do five thousand,” Gilbertson said. “And then we also do 2 percent of the polling centers, and because there are 223 sites, we’ll do 5 Polling Centers.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *