PHOENIX — Elections officials in Maricopa County, Arizona's largest county, posted results from an additional 62,034 ballots Wednesday night, which slightly favored Democrat candidates.
Those results consisted of early ballots received by the county over the weekend.
By Wednesday, all votes cast in person on Election Day had been counted except for 17,000 ballots placed in "Box #3" due to printing issues at up to 60 vote centers in the county Tuesday. Marks on some ballots were not printing dark enough, so they could not be fed through tabulators.
Officials on Wednesday said the issue impacted less than 7% of Election Day voters but will get to the bottom of it.
Remaining ballots by the numbers
County officials said they received 86,000 early ballots Friday through Sunday and an additional 50,000 on Monday.
The big day, however, was Election Day. A record-setting 290,000 early ballots were dropped off on Election Day, far exceeding the 170,000 early ballots received on Election Day in 2020.
"This number is immense, and it's a conversation that probably Arizona needs to have in terms of public policy because this is a number that keeps on growing," said Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer.
"In many ways, it's wonderful. Arizonans appreciate the ease of the voting process and that you can just take your early ballot and drop it off on Election Day, but it does inhibit us from having a higher percentage of returns available within the first 24-48 hours."
Those ballots will be verified and counted Thursday and Friday.
Early ballots go through a thorough verification process which takes time. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer explains workers first scan the barcode on the early ballot envelope, which links to a registered voter. They then ensure that the registered voter has not already cast a ballot. Then, they review and match the signature on the envelope. Next, it's sent to a bipartisan team that will take the ballots out of the envelope and ensure the ballot is not damaged. Then, they are tabulated.
By Wednesday night, county officials say there were 239,116 early ballots left to process and tabulate, 143,779 early ballots left to verify, 7,885 provisional ballots left to research, and the 17,000 "Box #3" ballots left to be counted.
County officials expect 95 to 99% of ballots to be counted by Friday.
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