Pinal County cites ‘human error’ after vote discrepancies revealed in election recount
PHOENIX — Pinal County, which has had a tumultuous election cycle, is attributing a discrepancy in its vote totals to “human error” after recount results were released Thursday.
Democrat Kris Mayes’ statewide margin over Republican Abe Hamadeh in the Arizona attorney general’s race was cut from 511 votes to 280 votes, movement that was largely due to a shift in the GOP-heavy county southeast of metro Phoenix.
Hamadeh added 392 votes and Mayes got 115 more votes in Pinal County following the recount. Apache County added 39 votes for Mayes and none of Arizona’s other 13 counties had double-digit changes.
“A recount occurred and the recount process did what it was supposed to do – it identified a roughly 500-vote undercount in the Pinal County election attributable to human error,” the county said Thursday in a statement.
The vote differential didn’t alter Mayes’ win, but Hamadeh and his lawyers threatened legal action after the results were released.
The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office issued a press release saying “discrepancies between the original tally and recount results occur and are not unexpected,” but it wasn’t Pinal County’s first election issue of 2022.
The county dealt with ballot shortages at various polling locations during the Aug. 2 primary, leading to the resignation of David Frisk as elections director.
About 2.5% of ballots were impacted and Pinal blamed it on human error.
“We screwed up,” Pinal County attorney Kent Volkmer said at the time. “This is nothing sinister. This is just simply a mistake.”
Prior to that, county officials had to scramble in June after tens of thousands of voters were sent incorrect early mail ballots.
About 46,000 ballots mailed to voters in Casa Grande, Eloy, Maricopa, Mammoth and Superior, plus the Pinal County portions of Apache Junction and Queen Creek were missing municipal contests.
The county also blamed that mistake on human error.
Mayes and the other winners of the 2022 midterm election will be sworn in next week.