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Fact check: More than 1.13 million Arizona votes were counted within 24 hours of Election Day, not 62,000

Fact check: More than 1.13 million Arizona votes were counted within 24 hours of Election Day, not 62,000

  • Politifact Truth-O-Meter: False
    PolitifactPolitifact Truth-O-Meter: False

If your time is short

  • Within 24 hours of polls closing on Election Day, Maricopa County counted more than1.13 million ballots.
  • The large number of votes counted on Election Day were early ballots that had already gone through the signature verification process, which takes time to complete.
  • Starting Nov. 10, Maricopa County began updating ballot numbers once a day.

Nationally and in Arizona, Republicans have criticized the pace that votes are being counted in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous.

“We waited 24 hours and got a measly 62,000 votes,” Republican secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem tweeted Nov. 9. He called the county’s election system “a national disgrace.”

Although roughly 62,000 ballots were added to the total amount of votes at around 7 p.m. that evening, more than 1.13 million ballots had already been counted in the 24 hours since the polls closed. Complete election results in Arizona typically take 10 to 12 days. NBC News and other media outlets called the secretary of state race for Democratic candidate Adrian Fontes, who led Finchem by more than 5 percentage points.

Fontes earned 1,245,008 votes to Finchem’s 1,122,907, according to the secretary of state’s unofficial results as of Nov. 14.

Maricopa added more than 273,000 ballots after the initial count

By Saturday, Nov. 5, the county had received more than 840,000 early ballots. These accounted for the bulk of the initial vote tally that the county posted on election night. Within the next 24 hours, the county had processed over 273,000 ballots. Each ballot goes through a closely monitored signature verification process.

After Election Day, the ballots counted are a mixture of early ballots, early ballots received on Election Day, ballots cast on Election Day and provisional ballots. At first, Maricopa County updated vote numbers several times on and shortly after Election Day, but began updating once a day on Thursday, Nov. 10.

We emailed Finchem but did not hear back.

Our ruling

Finchem said, “We waited 24 hours and got a measly 62,000 votes.”

Although there was an update that included 62,000 ballots, that was one of three updates after the initial release of results. In the 24 hours after the initial release, the county had included over 273,000 additional ballots in its tally.

We rate it False.

Our sources

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