ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona elections officials expect fast, but not instant, vote tally

Nov 3, 2020, 11:15 AM | Updated: 3:04 pm
ballot tabulation machine counting...
(Facebook Screenshot/Maricopa County Elections Department)
(Facebook Screenshot/Maricopa County Elections Department)

PHOENIX — The top elections official in Arizona’s largest county said votes will be counted this week faster than in previous years, but plenty of ballots won’t be tabulated until after Election Day.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday morning his office expects to receive nearly 200,000 early ballots on Election Day, and those will be signature verified, processed and fed into tabulation machines in the coming days.

“Our final, final numbers are not going to be had today,” Fontes said. “It’s never happened, and it never will.

“We will get it right. We will do it carefully. And it will take several days for us to have an official number.”

Fontes said a big batch of early ballot tabulations will be released at 8 p.m., an hour after the polls close, and the results from Tuesday’s live voting will be reported in chunks over the course of the evening.

“We’ll have a good idea probably by midnight of where we are, but … we’re still going to have several hundred thousand ballots that came in late that we are processing.”

Because counties were allowed to start counting early ballots two weeks before the election, one week sooner than in previous years, Fontes says Arizona will have a relatively manageable backlog.

“We’re going to have far more votes reported out every single day after Election Day than we have in the past,” he said. “That means the last day that we put numbers out is going to be much sooner.”

In the 2018 midterm election, it took six days of post-election counting before The Associated Press called Kyrsten Sinema the winner over Martha McSally in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Tuesday she expects enough votes to be counted across the state for some races to be called before the night is up — without speculating about which ones.

“We’ll have a good amount of results tonight, and [for] races that aren’t close, the folks that are in the business of calling races will probably be able to do so,” she told KTAR News’ Arizona Morning News.

“We’ll see the early ballots that have already been tabulated as well as the Election Day results tonight.”

Tune to KTAR News 92.3 FM, online or our app on election night for coverage and analysis of the national, state and local results as they come in.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Mark Kelly, right, Arizona Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, right, hugs his family during an election night event Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) 
              U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., walks her dog Boomer to greet voters at a polling station early, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
            Voters wait in line at Mesa Community College Red Mountain campus on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) At Mesa Community College Red Mountain on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino) Voters wait in line outside a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Voters wait to cast their ballots at Burton Barr Central Library on Nov. 3, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza) Maricopa County Elections Headquarters in Phoenix on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar) A polling place in Phoenix on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup) Voters wait in line before dawn at Glendale Christian Church on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) A person walks past voting signs at Burton Barr Central Library on November 3, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza) Cisco & the Racecars play for voters at Burton Barr Central Library on November 3, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza) An "I voted" sticker is placed on Eddie Slades shirt at Burton Barr Central Library on November 3, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images) People stand in line at the Hamilton County Board of Elections as they wait to vote, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Norwood, Ohio. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster) Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Vote Center Lead Justin Ogunji, right, stands by the No. 42 display outside of Dodger Stadium, as he calls for the vote center at the stadium to open on Election Day, Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) A voter receives their ballot in a designated drive-up area for voters who are currently in quarantine with COVID-19 on November 3, 2020 at St. Louis County Board of Elections in St. Ann, Missouri. After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/ Michael B. Thomas) President Donald Trump speaks at the Trump campaign headquarters on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign canvassing event outside Union Hall 445 in Scranton, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Voters cast their ballots on a foggy morning Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in West Hollywood, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) First lady Melania Trump walks with Wendy Sartory, the Palm Beach County supervisor of elections, after casting her vote at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center polling place on November 03, 2020 in Palm Beach, Florida.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Joe Raedle) A voter arrives at a polling location on Nov. 3, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/Tom Pennington) Jack Anderson cleans a voter booth to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Election Day at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange County, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Durham, N.C. (Casey Toth/The News & Observer via AP) Voters wait in line outside of the polling place at Eastern High School November 3, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/ Jon Cherry) Each voter at this Ridgeland, Miss., voting precinct were required to use a sanitized pen to mark their ballots Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. The Mississippi Secretary of State office worked with county officials in providing hand sanitizers, face masks and other items to insure the safety of the electorate and the poll workers. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Voters wait to cast their ballots at Johnston Elementary School in the Wilkinsburg neighborhood on Nov. 3, 2020, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Getty Images Photo/ Jeff Swensen) A poll worker talks to a voter before they vote on a paper ballot on Election Day in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) 
              Voters fill out their ballots inside a polling place at Indian Creek Fire Station #4 in Miami Beach, Fla., on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
            A voter picks up a sticker from poll worker MacGregor Wale after voting at the Catholic Multicultural Center on Nov. 3, 2020, in Madison, Wisconsin.  After a record-breaking early voting turnout, Americans head to the polls on the last day to cast their vote for incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Andy Manis/Getty Images)

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