By Corinne Murdock |
On Monday, Maricopa County began the tabulation of approximately 168,000 early ballots. The county estimated that around 150,000 to 250,000 early ballots will be dropped off on Election Day, with 98 percent of ballots reported by November 11.
The Maricopa County Elections Department counts all early and provisional ballots. Vote Center tabulators handle Election Day ballots. As the county noted, state law allows for early ballot tabulation prior to Election Day.
Bill Gates, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors chairman, assured voters in a press release that the tabulators were vetted and staff were bipartisan.
“Regardless of who wins or loses, voters can trust in the results that our election processes, procedures, and audits provide,” stated Gates.
The county noted that voters should be aware of the possibility of an automatic recount following the publication of final results. SB1008 increased the automatic recount threshold from .001 to .5 percent. If that occurs, the final election results would be available by late December at the earliest.
The county’s detailed explanation of its processes, prediction of when vote counting ends, and assurance of election integrity precautions are likely part of efforts to alleviate tensions after nearly two years of vocal voter distrust in elections — especially those in Maricopa County.
County leadership condemned citizens surveilling ballot drop boxes, saying that it amounts to voter intimidation. The county encouraged citizens to become poll workers or official party-affiliated observers rather than surveil drop boxes.
“Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County’s drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. Instead they are leading to voter intimidation complaints. Although monitoring and transparency in our elections is critical, voter intimidation is unlawful,” stated the county.
Video surveillance of the drop boxes exists, but isn’t always reliable. As AZ Free News reported in August, the county failed to record an unstaffed drop box for three weeks — a mistake only discovered by the county after a records request for the video feed by the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC).
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer shared that approximately 1.9 million early ballots were mailed, accounting for around 77 percent of voters (over 2.4 million). Richer added that the county processed over 25,000 new or updated voter registration applications.
Election results will be made available here starting at 8 pm on Election Day, and updated every night. Voters can track and verify their ballot status by texting “JOIN” to 628-683 or by visiting BeBallotReady.Vote.