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Thousands cast ballots at polls, but late earlies take days to be tallied


At The Cartwright Elementary School District Annex, The Parking Lot Was Full And Several People Rested In Folding Chairs As They Waited For Their Turn To Vote. There Were A Steady Stream Of Voters And Things Looked Like They Were Going Smoothly. Photo By Lisa Irish/AZEdNews

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 10:27 a.m.

Over the Veterans Day weekend, Kathy Hoffman won the race for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kyrsten Sinema won the race for U.S. Senate and the race for Arizona Secretary of State remains too close to call with Katie Hobbs ahead by a 4,957 vote lead over Steve Gaynor.

To see updated election results, please go to the Arizona Secretary of State’s 2018 General Election website.

Updated Friday, Nov. 9 at 4:03 p.m.

An update on the ballots tallied is expected today after 5 p.m.

To see updated election results, please go to the Arizona Secretary of State’s 2018 General Election website.

There will be no updates to Arizona Education News Service or this story until Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, because our website is undergoing a redesign and update.

Updated Friday, Nov. 9 at 3:03 p.m.

All county recorders in Arizona will verify early ballots with signatures that didn’t match their voter registration signatures until 5 p.m. Nov. 14 thanks to a settlement Friday afternoon of a Republican lawsuit before the hearing scheduled at 2 p.m. in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said the settlement does not affect what they are doing in Maricopa County.

“It is an affirmation of what we are doing,” Fontes said.

When asked if he was angry about Republican allegations that he had destroyed evidence from midterm elections, during Mac and Gaydos Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“No, not really, it’s political nonsense,” Fontes said.

All the envelopes with the signatures that needed to be validated were put to the side as evidence for any lawsuit, but the votes on the ballots inside them were tallied and prepared to be sent to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office as required by federal law, Fontes said.

“Those votes needed to be counted with everyone else’s,” Fontes said.

“We are all Americans first. Our votes are all going to be counted under my administration,” Fontes said.

Updated Friday, Nov. 9 at 2:36 p.m.

Updated Friday, Nov. 9 at 1:31 p.m.

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office says it could still be several days before the election is called, because due to outdated equipment, elections officials can only count between 65,000 to 75,000 of those ballots per day, according to a story on KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Earlier on Friday, the Arizona Republican Party accused Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes of “premeditated destruction of evidence” after “voting irregularities” in the election, according to an article in The Arizona Republic.

Arizona’s Secretary of State Michelle Reagan, a Republican, released a statement that in order to ensure against voter fraud, mail ballots dropped off Election Day — which totaled 320,000 — are double-checked with votes cast at the polls to confirm no one voted twice.

“Arizona takes elections seriously – from the poll workers to the county elections officials, and the Secretary of State’s office,” Reagan said in a statement Friday in this KTAR News 92.3 FM article. “Everybody is working diligently to tabulate all of the election results in a manner that Arizonans can be proud of and, most importantly, trust the results.”

An update on the ballots tallied is expected today after 5 p.m. To see updated election results, go to the Arizona Secretary of State’s 2018 General Election website.

At 2 p.m. today, a Superior Court hearing will begin on the lawsuit filed late Tuesday by Maricopa, Yuma, Navajo and Apache Republican Parties against the Secretary of State and all Arizona country recorders to stop the verification and counting of early ballots that were dropped off at the polls on election day.

Updated Thursday, Nov. 8 at 6:03 p.m.

Kathy Hoffman has about a 19,000 vote lead in the Superintendent of Public Schools race and Kyrsten Sinema has almost a 9,000 vote lead in the U.S. Senate race, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s 2018 General Election website.

More votes from Maricopa, Pima, Gila, Pinal, Mohave, Yuma and Yavapai counties were added to the total on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website. There are still more votes to be counted from Maricopa, Pima, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal and Yuma.

Updated Thursday, Nov. 8 at 5:35 p.m.

When election results were updated at 5 p.m. today, Kathy Hoffman took the lead in the Superintendent of Public Schools race and Kyrsten Sinema took the lead over Martha McSally in the race for U.S. Senator.

Sinema now leads by about 2,000 votes after the Maricopa County Recorder released its latest totals to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office’s website. Earlier in the day, McSally had a 17,000-vote lead.

Updated Thursday, Nov. 8 at 2:15 p.m.

At a hearing today, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney ruled that counties should continue counting ballots, and set another hearing for 2 p.m. Friday.

Yesterday, the Maricopa, Yuma, Navajo and Apache Republican Parties filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State and all Arizona country recorders to stop the verification and counting of early ballots that were dropped off at the polls on election day.

Facebook Video: Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes on the Republican lawsuit and counting ballots

If there is a mismatch between the voter’s signature on file and the signature on their early ballot dropped off on Election Day, Maricopa, Pima and Coconino counties are contacting voters by phone to verify that they did sign the green envelope the ballot was mailed in as required by law, according to an article in The Arizona Republic.

Updated Thursday, Nov. 8 at 10:26 a.m.

The Maricopa, Yuma, Navajo and Apache Republican Parties filed a lawsuit late on Tuesday against the Secretary of State and all Arizona country recorders to stop the verification and counting of early ballots that were dropped off at the polls on election day.

Maricopa County Superior Court will hold a telephone hearing at 11:15 a.m. Thursday on the issue, according to an article in The Arizona Republic.

At stake is an unknown number of ballots that could tip the result of the U.S. Senate race where 17,000 votes separated Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema as of Wednesday evening. The Superintendent of Public Instruction race also remains too close to call.

“The lawsuit seemed to signal Republicans’ anxiety over Thursday’s expected posting of additional results from Maricopa County, the most populous area of the state, where Sinema has dominated so far,” according to The Arizona Republic article.

 

“The Republican party is doing everything it can to silence thousands of Arizonans who already cast their ballots,” said Felecia Rotellini, chair of the Arizona Democratic Party in a prepared statement in The Arizona Republic article. “That’s absolutely wrong, and the Arizona Democratic Party is fully prepared to fight to ensure that every last Arizonan has their vote counted.”

As previously stated by Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office plans to send a large amount of ballot results to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office at 5 p.m. today. Check the Secretary of State’s 2018 General Election results webpage then.

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 2:22 p.m.

In Maricopa County, voters approved 5 out 12 of public district school bond elections on the ballot, 9 out of 11 new budget overrides, 17 out of 20 budget override continuations and the only land sale/exchange/lease election, according to Leigh Jensen, governmental relations associate for Arizona School Boards Association.

 


At this time, the Arizona Secretary of State’s website says that with 99 percent of precincts reporting (which is the people voting at the polls in person on Election Day) that 1,739,565 ballots were cast and voter turnout was 46.81 percent among Arizona’s 3,716,161 registered voters.

But the results in two races that are too close to call – for U.S. Senator and Superintendent of Public Instruction – may not be known for up to 9 days, depending on when early ballots mailed in, early ballots dropped off a the polls on election day and provisional ballots are verified and counted, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

 

About 472,000 early ballots remain to be counted in Maricopa County, according to Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and he expects to have some of those votes verified, counted and released to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office by 5 p.m. Thursday, but that it will take 8 or 9 days to to get all these paper ballots tallied.

Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 10:23 a.m.

At this time, the Arizona Secretary of State’s website says that with 99 percent of precincts reporting (which is the people voting at the polls in person on Election Day) that 1,739,186 ballots were cast and voter turnout was 46.80 percent among Arizona’s 3,716,161 registered voters.

About 65.11 percent of Arizonans voted no on Prop. 305, which would overturn legislators’ efforts to expand school vouchers, also known as Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.

Two races remain to close too call with candidates separated by a thin margin of votes, and the results of those elections may not be known for up to 10 days until early ballots mailed in, early ballots dropped off a the polls on election day and provisional ballots are verified and counted, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

“It should take the rest of the week to get this done,” said Garrett Archer with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office during an interview on KTAR 92.3 FM this morning.

Half a million early ballots remain to be counted in Maricopa County, according to Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes. Those ballots need to be inspected by hand, verified and totaled, he said.

“I’m super excited for Arizona that we had such great turnout,” Fontes said.

“We’ve got early votes in house from before election day that we didn’t get counted because we were focused on setting up for election day,” Fontes said during an interview on KTAR 92.3 FM this morning. “We expect to release a large amount of those votes by 5 p.m. tomorrow.”

Fontes said there are observers from each party watching the process of tabulating ballots.

The race for Superintendent of Public Instruction remains too close to call with Republican Frank Riggs with 50.2 percent of the vote, while Democrat Kathy Hoffman with 49.8 percent.

The election for U.S. Senator also remains too close to call with Republican Martha McSally with 49.34 percent of the vote and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema with 48.42 percent.

When asked when the results of the U.S. Senate race will be ready, Fontes said “We’re going to get it done, when we get it done, and it will be done well,” Fontes said.

Election Day 2:03 a.m.
As more ballot totals were sent into the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, election results were updated at 2:03 a.m. and the percentages remained similar to what was reported at 9:05 p.m.

Some early ballots that were mailed in, other early ballots that were dropped off at the polls on election day, and provisional ballots remain to be verified and counted and sent in to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office and that process may take several days.

That means the outcome for close races like the U.S. Senate race between Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema and the Superintendent of Public Instruction race between Frank Riggs and Kathy Hoffman may not be known for days.

9:05 p.m.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the Arizona Secretary of State started releasing election results on their website.

All the following results are unofficial and subject to change over the next several days as more ballots – including early and provisional ballots – are verified, counted and sent to the Secretary of State’s Office.

At 8:50 p.m., Martha McSally has 49.21 percent of the vote in unofficial results and Kyrsten Sinema has 48.5 percent of the vote in the race for U.S. Senator.

Governor Doug Ducey leads David Garcia with 58.3 percent of the vote in unofficial results.

Steve Gaynor has 51.3 percent of the vote, compared to Katie Hobbs’ 48.7 percent in the race for Secretary of State.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich leads January Contreras with 53.4 percent of the vote.

In the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Frank Riggs has 50.1 percent of the vote, while Kathy Hoffman has 49.9 percent.

Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Dist. 28, is leading with 50.8 percent of the vote, ahead of Christine Porter Marsh, who has 49.2 percent of the vote in one of the closes races so far tonight.

About 67.49 percent of Arizonans voted no on Prop. 305, which would overturn legislators efforts to expand school vouchers, also known as Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.

But the vote on Prop. 126, could limit funding for education and other needs in the state for the long-term.

Here’s how Arizonans voted on the other propositions on the ballot.

7:10 p.m.

Polls in Arizona closed at 7 p.m., except where people were still in line waiting to vote.

 

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said the long line for voting at Arizona State University was due to the high number of provisional ballots being cast.

 

While you’re waiting for results, take a look at some predictions.

 

After 8 p.m., election results will start being released on the Arizona Secretary of State’s 2018 General Election website.

 

For an analysis on how critical early voting is to election results, read this.

 

4:06 p.m.

At this time, about 198,000 Arizonans have voted in person at the polls in the 2018 General Election today, according to Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder.

 

Anyone who is in line at a voting center by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote, and results with be available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s 2018 General Election website after 8 p.m.

 

But some are not happy with the emergency voting centers people could vote at in the days before the election in Maricopa and Pima County or a policy decision by the Maricopa County Recorder to contact voters before invalidating ballots over mismatched signaures, which Coconino and Pima counties already do, according to an article in AZMirror.

 


3:23 p.m.

Early voting totals indicate that young people made up the largest percentage of first-time voters, said Garrett Archer, senior analyst at the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

 

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said that by 2:47 p.m. that more than 178,000 Arizonans voted at the polls.

 


One of the places where voters are encountering long lines is at Arizona State University.

But voters are encouraged to be patient and stay in line to vote.

 

2:18 p.m.

One of the ballot issues voters will decide is Prop. 305, which could overturn a large expansion of Arizona’s school voucher program or Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, that state legislators approved in the 2017 session that would make ESAs available to all Arizona public school students.

The vote will impact not just students in Arizona, but those across the nation because Arizona is seen as a leader in the school choice movement, according to an article in The Arizona Republic.

 


Save Our Schools Arizona, a grassroots group of education advocates and parents, gathered signatures from 111,540 voters to put the law that provides public tax dollars to private school tuition on hold.

ESA opponents have concerns about the program’s financial accountability and academic accountability.

If Arizonans vote against Prop. 305, they would overturn state legislators’ latest attempt to expand vouchers. Save Our Schools Arizona would like Arizona voters to vote no on Prop. 305.

If Arizonans vote for Prop. 305, state legislators’ latest ESA expansion will be approved and voter-protected, which means it couldn’t be repealed or changed without a super-majority of the state legislators.

1:26 p.m.

Voter turnout in Arizona is estimated to be around 56 percent, which is an unusually high number for a midterm election, according to an Associated Press article. For example, only 36 percent of registered voters turned out for the 2014 midterm elections.

 


“We’re a big calculator tonight. We take all the numbers from the counties and add them up and give them to the public and to the press,” said Michele Reagan, Secretary of State.

The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office does not count ballots, that is done at each county recorder’s office and they send their results to the Secretary of State’s Office, Reagan said.

“There is a very large chance that some of the races will be so close that we may not know the results for a week,” Reagan said. “Before the county recorder’s count each ballot, they need to verify your signature and make sure you didn’t vote at the polls.”

“If it’s a close race, we’re not going to know tonight,” Reagan said.

Reagan reminded voters that the first they’ll see election results is shortly after 8 p.m. since polls close in Arizona at 7 p.m.

“The  biggest thing we’re always concerned about is making sure information isn’t tinkered with,” Reagan said.

Two years ago, Arizona had a problem with a server from a foreign country trying to get in but they didn’t, Reagan said. There have been no problems like that this year, Reagan said.

 


12:37 p.m.

People are waiting in line to vote, because there’s more people voting today, said Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

But some voters have experiences problems with ballot printers and the electronic voting system.

There was a bit of a slowdown in the electronic system at around 11:30 a.m. for about 20 minutes which has since been resolved.

“We’re still looking into why exactly it happened,” Fontes said in a Facebook Live video at noon. “There was a little bit of a concern, because it was a system-wide hiccup. We’re narrowing it down to make sure it doesn’t happen again throughout the rest of the day.”

 


By 11:50 a.m., more than 127,000 ballots were cast at the polls in Maricopa County, Fontes said during a Facebook Live video.

“Right now, we have tabulated 626,515 ballots as it stands at this moment,” Fontes said. “That will probably be the number that we report. That’s because once we get them tabulated here we have to compile the data and our system is a little old and so it takes a little bit of time to ensure that is all set in there. That may be the number that we put out tonight, although we have received over a million ballots of early voting.”

 


Polls close at 7 p.m. in Arizona.

 


Election results will start to be available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s 2018 General Election website starting at 8 p.m.

 


“At least 75 percent of all the votes cast in Arizona will be by early ballots,” said Chris Herstam, a Democratic political analyst, in an interview on KTAR 92.3 FM.

On Monday, the Secretary of State’s Office said that 1,586,783 early ballots had been turned in, up from the entire 2014 midterm race when a total of 1,537,671 people voted early or at the polls, according to a Capitol Media Services article.

 


Among early voters, 18 to 34 year olds made up the largest number of first time voters, according to the Maricopa County Recorders Office.

 


“This is unprecedented. We haven’t seen in Arizona or around the country this enthusiasm around a midterm election,” said Grant Woods, former Arizona Attorney General in an interview on KTAR 92.3 FM. “We’ll see where Arizona stands and where the country stands.”

“What we’ve seen is about a 5 percent bump in party not disclosed and indepdendent (voter) participation,” said Chuck Coughlin, Republican strategist with HighGround.

11:00 a.m.

The #Red for Ed movement put education issues on the front burner in Arizona, said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, in an interview on KTAR 92.3 FM.

“You see more candidates and issues looking through this lens of how this will affect education,” Thomas said.

“It was very difficult what educators did last year,” Thomas said. “It was very courageous.”

While more money for teachers was added to the budget, there is so much more that needs addressing though, Thomas said.

“Class sizes in Arizona are astronomical and they need to be brought down considerably for students to receive the personalized attention they need and deserve,” Thomas said.

“No matter who wins tomorrow. Educators will hold the winners accountable to fund our schools at appropriate levels,” Thomas said.

 


10:17 a.m.

More than 86,000 voters cast their ballot by 9:50 a.m. in Maricopa County, according to Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

The election day turnout in 2016 for the presidential election was about 350,000 over the course of the entire day, Fontes said.

If you still need to vote, click here to find voting locations thanks to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.

One polling location in Chandler was closed at Golf Academy of America at Warner and McQueen after the business was foreclosed upon overnight, Fontes told NBC 12 News Phoenix.

 


Poll workers were setting up tables in the parking lot for people to vote, but a new polling location for the Gila Precinct opened at Mesquite High School in nearby Gilbert around 10 a.m., according to KJZZ 91.5 FM.

Voters were advised to go to the Chandler City Hall Center at 175 S. Arizona Avenue until issues were resolved, according to 3 TV/ CBS 5 KPHO Phoenix.

“Every election has it’s circumstances and the circumstances in this election are that we had a couple locations not open because of a key problem at a church, we had one forclosure, now all these circumstances are completely ameliorated or ready to go,” Fontes said in a Facebook Live video. “We did have a software issue on some of our ballot on demand printers. We’re getting to the bottom of that right now, but that one’s being resolved completely as well at our vote centers.”

If you run into trouble at the polls in Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office asks that you call (602) 506-2348 or report the issue online.

If you are in another Arizona county, please search online for your county’s recorder office and call them to report it.

9:02 a.m.

Thousands of Arizona voters went to the polls today on election day to vote in the 2018 midterms for candidates for governor, superintendent of public instruction, treasurer, secretary of state, state senators and representatives, candidates U.S. senate and house of representatives, several propositions and school bonds and overrides.

 


Election officials said that the majority of ballots were sent in early and they’re expecting a record turnout for a midterm election. If you’d like to check to see if your early ballot was validated click here.

 


At the Cartwright Elementary School District Annex, the parking lot was full and several people rested in folding chairs as they waited for their turn to vote. There were a steady stream of voter,s and things looked like they were going smoothly with election volunteers answering voters questions.

A candidate for school board held a sign out in the parking lot and encouraged voters to vote for her.

Other people offered voters information about issues on the ballot.

One woman let people going in to vote know to tell her if they had any issues voting.

After the issues people had voting in the 2016 elections, there will be four federal election officials monitoring elections today.