Most of the statewide races in Arizona were still too close to call as of Thursday morning, Nov. 10. According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s website, there were 619,000 ballots still to be counted in the state. A total of 1.9 million ballots had been counted.
As of 10:40 a.m. Thursday, no new totals had been posted on the Secretary of State’s website since 7:15 Wednesday evening.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richter told 3TV/CBS 5 in Phoenix one of the reasons it takes so long to count all the ballots is because of early ballots dropped off at polling places on Election Day. These are referred to as “late early” ballots. He said such ballots must be processed as early ballots and go through the signature verification process before they can be counted. He said that takes time.
Richter estimated that 275,000 early ballots were dropped off at polling places in Maricopa County on Election Day.
La Paz County Elections Director Bob Bartelsmeyer said there were 892 early ballots dropped of Election Day at polling stations around the county. He said it takes time for the County Recorder’s office to process and verify the ballots before they can be counted.
Richard Garcia, La Paz County Recorder, said his office has to verify the early ballots, as well as early ballots dropped out at his office on Election Day. They don’t get the early ballots dropped off at polling stations around the county until the following morning.
Garcia said verifying the “late early” ballots and the provisional ballots is what takes the most time.
Bartelsmeyer said the process is slow and deliberate so they can be sure they are getting an accurate count.
“We want to take our time so we get it right,” he said.
Gretchen Macht, a professor of Engineering at the University of Rhode Island, worked with that state in cutting down on waiting times at polling places. She told the Washington Post she tells children to think of counting votes as doing their homework. They could rush through it, but then it likely wouldn’t be correct. She said election officials are careful and take their time so they get it right.
As of Thursday, Nov. 10, Bartelsmeyer said write-in votes had been counted. He added his department will be working on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, to count the “late early” and provisional ballots. He said they should have complete unofficial totals by late Friday afternoon.
Bartelsmeyer said Nov. 21 has been set as the day for the County Board of Supervisors to canvass the vote. The canvass must take place before Nov. 28.