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Maricopa County Officials Announce Schedule For Election Results

By Ben Giles
Published: Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 6:37pm
Updated: Friday, September 18, 2020 - 9:01am

Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix.

The nature of Arizona’s elections, which are conducted both by mail and through in-person voting, often means long waits for results after election night.

In Maricopa County, election officials are trying to head off any claims or warnings about the validity of election results by detailing exactly when they’ll provide updates to election results on Nov. 3.

Scott Jarrett, director of Election Day and emergency voting for Maricopa County, said it’s important to realize that a final, preliminary tally of ballots can’t be announced until at least one week after the election.

That’s because state law gives Arizonans on the Permanent Early Voting List five business days after the election to “cure” their ballots — a process that allows voters to validate the signature on their early ballot envelope in the event election officials can’t verify the signature.

Signatures on early ballots serve as a voters identification, and are required for early ballots to be counted.

Aside from that deadline, Jarrett said the first tally of votes will be announced at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, one hour after polls close. Those initial results will cover a count of early ballots received by the Saturday before Election Day.

“Our goal is, everything that has been received by [the] end of day Saturday, to be included in those election reporting results at 8 p.m.,” Jarrett said.

The next update of results will be a count of all the votes cast in-person on Election Day. Officials estimate between 200,000 to 300,000 voters will cast ballots on Nov. 3. 

Jarrett said voters can expect those results between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on election night.

Beginning the Wednesday after election night, the county will provide daily updates of vote counts at 7 p.m. That’s later than officials have provided updates in previous elections, including the August primary, but Jarrett said it’s to ensure votes can be counted in as few days as possible.

“We wanted that much extra time every day to get through those ballots,” he said.

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