ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County still has 345K ballots to count as voters await Senate result

Nov 9, 2018, 10:11 AM | Updated: 10:12 am
Workers at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office go through ballots Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Phoe...

Workers at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office go through ballots Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Phoenix. There are several races too close to call in Arizona, especially the Senate race between Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema and Republican candidate Martha McSally. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Recorder’s office was making its way through 345,000 or so ballots that still needed to be counted as Arizona voters anxiously await the results of the U.S. Senate race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

But Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said, despite the progress election officials have made since the Tuesday election, it could still be several days before the election is called.

Fontes said due to outdated equipment, elections officials can only count between 65,000 and 75,000 of those ballots per day. County officials are hoping to get all of the ballots counted and processed within eight or nine days.

“We will give an update every day at 5 p.m. until we are done with the election, Fontes told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Friday.

And while Arizonans take time to honor veterans on Monday, Fontes said he and his office will be hard at work counting all of the ballots and working to bring this race closer to the finish line.

“We’re going to work as hard as we can to get that done,” he said.

The tight-knit race between Sinema and McSally took a turn on Thursday, after a surge of votes from Maricopa and Pima counties brought the Democratic candidate from a 17,000 vote deficit to a lead of a more than 9,000 votes.

A batch of Maricopa County votes pushed Sinema ahead by around 2,000 votes, and the lead swelled by another 7,000 after Pima County reported.

The early ballots are the focus of a lawsuit filed on Thursday by four county Republican parties.

The suit filed by Maricopa, Apache, Navajo and Yuma Republican Party counties alleged that the state’s 15 county recorders don’t follow a uniform standard for allowing voters to adjust problems with their mail-in ballots, and that two counties improperly allow those fixes after Election Day.

A hearing in the lawsuit was expected to be held at 2 p.m. on Friday.

“Yesterday and this morning confirmed our expectation that as the ballots are counted, Kyrsten will steadily build her advantage,” Sinema’s campaign said in a statement on Friday.

McSally’s campaign also said it is confident that she will be elected as Arizona’s next senator.

Maricopa, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal and Yuma counties still had outstanding votes as of early Thursday evening, according to the Arizona Secretary of State website.

The next batch of votes from Maricopa County was expected to come around 5 p.m. on Friday.

According to Tim Steller with the Arizona Daily Star, Pima County expects to finish counting early ballots by Tuesday.

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Rep.-elect Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., celebrates his win at an election night gathering for Democrats Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. Stanton defeated Republican Steve Ferrara in Arizona's 9th Congressional District. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R, speaks to supporters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at an election night party in Scottsdale, Ariz. Incumbent Ducey defeated democratic challenger David Garcia for his second term. (AP Photo/Matt York) Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R, embraces Cindy McCain, wife of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, while speaking to supporters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at an election night party in Scottsdale, Ariz. Incumbent Ducey defeated Democratic challenger David Garcia for his second term. (AP Photo/Matt York) U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., holds his daughter Olivia as he speaks to supporters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at an election night party in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) (KTAR News/Jim Cross) (KTAR News/Jim Cross) (KTAR News/Jim Cross) (KTAR News/Kathy Cline) (KTAR News/Kathy Cline) (KTAR News/Kathy Cline) (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino) (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino) (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino) (KTAR News/Griselda Zetino) An elections official counts ballots at the Tabulation and Election Center, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Arizona Republican senatorial candidate Martha McSally, speaks with voters, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at Chase's diner in Chandler, Ariz. McSally and Democratic challenger Kirsten Sinema are seeking the senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who is retiring in January. (AP Photo/Matt York) Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a relocated polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Chandler, Ariz. The new polling station opened four hours late after the original location did not open due to the buildings' foreclosure overnight. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

A volunteer moves supplies to a relocated polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Chandler, Ariz. The new polling station opened four hours late after the original location did not open due to the buildings' foreclosure overnight. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

A notice sign is seen at a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Chandler, Ariz. A new polling station opened four hours late after the original location did not open due to the buildings' foreclosure overnight. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Marcicopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes holds an Election Day press conference, Nov. 6, 2018. (KTAR Photo/Ali Vetnar) Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R, arrives to cast his ballot early Tuesday, Nov 6, 2018 in Paradise Valley, Ariz. Ducey is seeking re-election against Democratic challenger David Garcia. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia serves coffee at a local cafe, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. Garcia is challenging Republican incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Voters head into Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix to cast their ballots on Nov. 6, 2018. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) Maricopa County elections official Deborah Atkins places a "vote" sign outside a polling station prior to it's opening, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Maricopa County elections official Deborah Atkins hangs "vote" signs outside a polling station prior to it's opening, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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Maricopa County still has 345K ballots to count as voters await Senate result