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Voting Rights Attorneys Urge Patience When It Comes To Counting Votes In Arizona

By Ben Giles
Published: Monday, October 26, 2020 - 4:33pm
Updated: Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 8:29am

Maricopa County Elections Department opening envelopes
Ben Giles/KJZZ
Maricopa County election workers process early ballots by removing them from ballot envelopes to prep ballots for counting on Oct. 21, 2020.

Election night is barely a week away. But voters should be prepared to wait longer than a few hours for reliable results after polls close in Arizona.

“Voters should be prepared not to see election results on Nov. 3 or the days immediately following. This is always true in very close elections,” said Raul Macias, an attorney specializing in voting rights at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Macias added this is not a bad sign in states like Arizona, where it can often take days to count enough votes to determine a victor in close races.

“Elections administrators are going to be hard at work making sure to carefully count every ballot,” he said. If votes continue to be counted on election night. This is not a signal of anything going wrong. In fact, quite the opposite.”

One reason the count may take longer in Arizona: A state law that grants voters five days after the election to fix signatures on their early ballot envelope.

Those signatures act as proof of a voter’s identity, and are matched with signatures election officials have on file.

Macias said many states may be dealing with a large volume of mail-in ballots that can take longer to count than those cast in person on Election Day.

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