ARIZONA NEWS

With nearly 300K votes left, Maricopa County might report twice daily

Nov 5, 2020, 12:11 PM | Updated: 12:33 pm

PHOENIX — With the nation waiting breathlessly for election results from Arizona, the state’s largest county had close to 300,000 outstanding ballots on Thursday, according to Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

Fontes told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that the county can tabulate about 100,000 ballots a day, but that could fluctuate because certain parts of the process have the potential to create backups.

There’s plenty of interest in Maricopa County’s numbers because they could make a difference in who wins the presidency.

The Associated Press and Fox News have called Arizona and its 11 electoral votes for challenger Joe Biden, putting the former vice president on the brink of clinching, but other outlets have deemed the race too close to call.

Entering Thursday, Biden led President Donald Trump by about 68,000 votes, a difference of 2.35 percentage points.

Despite the suspense, Fontes says the county is processing ballots faster than in previous years because of an improved system, but it’s still time consuming.

He also said said he’s on board with message of demonstrators who have been gathering outside the elections office.

“I say keep it coming,” he said. “Count the votes. I couldn’t agree more. … We want all the valid votes counted.”

Fontes, a Democrat, gave assurances that representatives of both parties are involved for every step of the process.

“The folks that are working doing this, you’ve got a Republican sitting next to a Democrat at every single aspect of this, from when they pull it out of the envelope to when they do the adjudication,” he said.

He said his office will continue posting updates at 7 p.m. daily and is looking into adding a 9 a.m. report.

Maricopa County provided two batches on Wednesday night, one at 7 p.m. as expected and another around midnight from the late shift.

Fontes said the late shift results will likely be reported at 9 a.m. the next day as counting continues.

He said the county had 275,000 ballots remaining for regular processing and reporting that don’t require special attention.

Another 18,000 provisional ballots were left, too.

“These are folks who may have showed up and voted on Election Day without an ID,” Fontes said. “They may be envelopes that we got that have mismatched signatures. They’re maybe be some other special circumstance that requires some special processing before we open the envelope and get the ballot into the hopper.”

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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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With nearly 300K votes left, Maricopa County might report twice daily