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Still thousands of ballots left to tally in Pima County

Although they're unlikely to affect the outcome of any races, local election officials are still counting ballots: about 20,000 provisionals remain to be added to the totals in Pima County. In Maricopa County, about 45,000 remained on Tuesday.

Here, there were about 20,000 ballots that needed to be verified and potentially added to the vote totals remaining at the beginning of the week, Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez.

"The important thing is getting it done right," Rodriguez said. All Pima ballots should be tallied by the end of the week, she said.

There were about 6,600 early ballots that were handed in at the polls last Tuesday waiting to be counted at the Elections Department on Tuesday, officials reported. Rodriguez and her staff have turned over another 12,700 provisional ballots hand to be counted by Elections. As of Wednesday, that leaves about 7,300 additional provisionals that still must be reviewed to see if they are valid.

"Most of the provisionals turn out to be valid and get counted," Rodriguez said.

To forestall allowing voters to cast multiple ballots, those who ask for early ballots and then go to the polls instead are issued provisional ballots, which take longer to process. Voters who go to the wrong polling place and insist on voting are given provisional ballots, but their votes are not included in the final count.

In Maricopa County, where longtime Recorder Helen Purcell was defeated last week by Democratic challenger Adrian Fontes, there were still about 45,000 provisional ballots left to process Tuesday, the incumbent Republican said.

About 10,000 provisionals there had already been found valid and added to the count, she said. There were also about 10,000 early ballots left to count in the county, Purcell said.

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Pima County's numbers showed some minor discrepancies. A receipt showing 4,206 ballots were sent Monday from the Recorder's Office to the Elections Department was updated to report that 3,504 had been sent. But the Elections Department, which did not make public data on provisional ballots until the day after being asked about them by TucsonSentinel.com, separately reported receiving 3,505 ballots.

Elections Director Brad Nelson said that a final count would not be posted before the weekend.

With the remaining ballots being from throughout the county, and the closest races being to represent smaller areas, the number of votes yet to be added are unlikely to shift any outcomes.

In the race for the third seat on the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, Rachael Sedgwick leads Betts Putnam-Hidalgo by about 250 votes, 48,304-48,045. Both were challengers in the vote-for-three race that saw incumbents Mark Stegeman and Kristel Ann Foster easily re-elected. Cam Juarez trailed in his re-election effort, coming in sixth out of the seven-candidate field.

In the race for state House in LD 10, incumbent Democrat Stefanie Mach trails Republican challenger Todd Clodfelter by about 600 votes, 44,187-43,185. Democrat Kristin Engel led the pick-two race with 44,211 votes.

Last Wednesday, there were more than 672,000 ballots left to be added to the count from Tuesday's election in Arizona, with more than 75 percent of them in Maricopa County.

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