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Pima County has 30k ballots left to count; 150k-plus remain in Maricopa County

With important races in Arizona's primary election separated by just a few percentage points, there are about 200,000 ballots statewide that remain to be verified and counted, officials said. While about 80 percent of Arizonans who voted did so early, enough early ballots were dropped off at the polls on Tuesday to mean it will take days to add them to the final tally.

In Pima County, there are about 30,000 ballots that still need to be reviewed and counted. In Maricopa County, 150-160,000 ballots need to be counted yet. Other counties also have ballots remaining to deal with — including Pinal County, which had numerous problems during in-person voting on Tuesday, including sites that ran out of paper ballots.

Pima officials said there are about 22,000 early and other ballots and about 4,200 provisional ballots to process, before they can be tabulated. Another 3,100 ballots cast in person at voting centers also are yet to be counted, due to issues at those sites on Election Day.

Data posted by the County Recorder's Office shows about 11,000 ballots were reviewed and sent Wednesday to be counted by the Elections Department.

In Maricopa County, Arizona's most populous, about 122,000 ballots were returned Tuesday, officials said.

"Now, we verify each signature, review provisional ballots and contact (thousands) of voters whose signatures require additional review," Maricopa officials said.

Races that hang in the balance include the Republican primary for governor, with Kari Lake leading Karrin Taylor Robson by less than 2 percentage points — an 11,000-vote lead. About 26,000 votes — a little more than 5 percent — separate leader Adrian Fontes from Reginald Bolding in the Democratic primary for secretary of state, the office in charge of Arizona's elections.

Pima Elections Director Constance Hargrove said in a news release that there were "some vote centers where the checked-in voters tally didn’t match the number of ballots," and one site with a printer problem that required duplicating about 120 ballots in order for them to be scanned properly, and sorting that out delayed the counting of about 3,100 ballots.

At some sites, poll workers doing a required hand count of the number of ballots cast at each location at the end of the night entered information incorrectly in a report, Hargrove told the Sentinel. Elections Department officials contacted the inspector at each site where there was a "discrepancy" between that report and the number of voters recorded as checking in on the electronic pollbooks, she said.

"Some counts were one or two off, and some were 10 or more. I verified the check-in number and compared it to the number of ballots counted," she said. In some places, the wrong number was written down, and others mistakenly added the tally of spoiled and provisional ballots to the ballot count.

"They were all reasonable errors, but I did not want to make assumptions, so we contacted the inspectors" to trace the errors, she told the Sentinel.

Hargrove said she expects those 3,100 ballots to all be counted by Wednesday night.

About 160,000 ballots were cast in Pima County, adding up to just more than 25 percent voter turnout. Across the state, about 1,144,000 ballots were cast, for about 27.5 percent overall turnout.

From Pima County:

Provisional ballots were issued to Election Day voters who were sent a mail ballot, had a change in address or otherwise required further investigation in their voter registration. The Recorder’s Office suspended signature verification on Election Day to ensure that voters didn’t vote twice and resumed verification after receiving voter data from the Elections Department. Every provisional ballot is processed, though not every ballot will be eligible for tabulation.

The Recorder’s Office turns over verified ballots in batches of roughly 5,000 at a time to the Elections Department. The Elections Department will continue to count ballots each day until there are none left to count. Elections must complete counting by Aug. 15, when the Board of Supervisors is expected to certify the Canvas of Election.

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