Maricopa County enters next phase of tabulation with 400,000 ballots left
Nov 9, 2022, 1:21 PM
PHOENIX – Maricopa County had more than 400,000 ballots left to count as of Wednesday morning, including a record number of early ballots that were dropped off on Election Day, officials said.
Now that the vote-casting is done, Arizona’s largest county plans to release new numbers once a day, in the evening, until the tabulation process is complete.
The county reported results from just over a million votes – early ballots submitted by Friday and votes cast in person on Election Day – by around 2 a.m. Wednesday.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said elections staff will work Friday, which is Veterans Day, and through the weekend if necessary.
“As I have been saying, we have anticipated that we would have 95-99% of all the ballots counted and reported by Friday. We have no reason to change that estimate. If we do, we’ll let you know,” Gates said during a press conference.
Officials said the outstanding early ballots include 86,000 dropped off Friday-Sunday and already processed and ready for tabulation. Another 50,000 were dropped off Monday and 275,000 on Tuesday.
All ballots have to go through a process that includes verification of the signature on the green envelope before they get fed through tabulation machines.
Recorder Stephen Richer said the Election Day drop-off total was the largest the county has ever seen, and he suggested that lawmakers consider changing election policies to speed up the reporting process.
“It’s a conversation that probably Arizona needs to have in terms of public policy, because this is a number that keeps on growing,” he said, noting that 170,000 early ballots were dropped off on Election Day in 2020.
“In many ways it’s wonderful. Arizonans appreciate the ease of the voting process and that you can take your early ballot and drop it off on Election Day, but it does inhibit us from having a higher percentage of returns available within the first 24-48 hours.”