2 tight statewide races in Arizona will likely trigger automatic recounts

Nov 15, 2022, 10:44 AM | Updated: 10:50 am
(Twitter Photo/@MaricopaVote)...
(Twitter Photo/@MaricopaVote)
(Twitter Photo/@MaricopaVote)

PHOENIX – Two down-to-the-wire statewide races are likely heading to automatic full recounts under a newly implemented Arizona election law.

The Nov. 8 election was Arizona’s first with Senate Bill 1008 in effect. The bill, which was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in May, increased the recount threshold by five times, from one-tenth of a percent of the combined votes cast for the two candidates to one-half of a percent.

Approximately 2.5 million votes are expected to be tallied in Arizona’s statewide races. Because voters skip some ballot items, the actual numbers will vary by race.

But using that figure as a rough estimate, a recount would be triggered under the new law when the margin is under 12,500 votes.

As of results released Monday night, the attorney general and superintendent of public instruction races were well within that margin. Democrat Kris Mayes was leading Republican Abraham Hamadeh by 3,087 votes for attorney general, while Republican Tom Horne was leading incumbent Democratic Superintendent Kathy Hoffman by 6,556 votes.

And with only about 48,000 ballots still uncounted statewide — and probably less because a number of provisional ballots will be rejected — it appears unlikely the margins will outgrow the recount threshold.

For statewide, federal or legislative races that finish within the recount margin, the secretary of state is responsible for going to court to start the process, Maricopa County Elections Director Scott Jarrett said during a press briefing last month.

“This is automatic,” he said. “So it can’t be asked for by the candidate or someone else, but it does require the filing officer to go to court and have the court initiate the automatic recount.”

The filing won’t take place until after the canvass, which for the secretary of state is scheduled for Dec. 5.

Logic and accuracy testing of tabulators in all 15 counties will then have to be performed before the recount can commence, Jarrett said.

There will be no daily updates while recounts are ongoing. The final results will be unsealed by a judge.

The process is expected to take several weeks from start to finish.

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2 tight statewide races in Arizona will likely trigger automatic recounts