On Friday, the results of ballots dropped off at polling places on Election Day will start to come out in Arizona’s largest county. This will show if Republicans can beat Democrats in important races for U.S. Senate and governor.
With half a million ballots left to count statewide, Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters would need to win more than 60% of them to beat Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly. To beat Democrat Katie Hobbs in the race for governor, Republican Kari Lake would need to win a little more than half of the votes.
By late Friday afternoon, Kelly was 5.6 percentage points ahead of Masters, while Hobbs was only 1.2 points ahead of Lake.
Republicans, like Lake, are sure that the remaining ballots are heavily in their favour, so they have been pushing election officials in Maricopa County, where most Arizona voters live, to speed up the count. Republican Bill Gates, who is chair of the County Board of Supervisors, said that the team is working as fast as it can, but it takes time to follow the detailed steps that Arizona law requires.
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“We’re doing everything right. Gates told reporters at the county elections office on Friday, “We’re not doing anything wrong at all.” “It’s frustrating that someone from here would say that we’re doing something wrong.
Officials from the county have stated that they were flooded with a significantly greater number of early ballots that were dropped out on Election Day than they have ever had to process before. On Election Day, voters turned in a total of 292,000 early ballots, which represents a 70% increase compared to the previous high set in 2020.
The counting of these ballots is a time-consuming process because the officials have to verify that each one came from a valid voter. This verification couldn’t begin until Wednesday, thus the counting process was delayed until then.
According to Gates, the results of 80,000 ballots will be released by Maricopa County on Friday evening. More than half of those results will come from the critically important group of early ballots received on Election Day.
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In addition, the report will include fewer than 10,000 ballots that were received before Tuesday and “a good amount” of the approximately 17,000 ballots that were cast at vote centres on Tuesday but could not be counted immediately due to a printing issue. Both of these groups of ballots were unable to be counted immediately.
Pima County, which includes the Tucson metropolitan area, still had a sizeable number of ballots to be counted. According to data provided by the state secretary of state, the state’s two urban counties account for a combined total of ninety per cent of the outstanding ballots.
Wins in Arizona and either the remaining Nevada Senate race, which as of Friday was still too early to call or the runoff election in Georgia scheduled for the following month would be enough for either party to take control of the United States Senate.
The remaining ballots in Arizona are believed by Democrats to have a much lower probability of favouring candidates supported by the Republican Party, which may enable some or all of their candidates to maintain their leads.
As of Friday afternoon, the Democrats held a lead of 5 points in the race for secretary of state, and they led by just under 1 point in the race for attorney general. In at least two of the uncalled House races in the state, the candidates were only separated by a margin of two points or less. Greg Stanton, the Democratic incumbent running for reelection, had a much more comfortable lead of 14 points in a third.
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