After Maricopa County said it had completed its vote count, it appeared Monday that Arizona’s halftime had reached a milestone — no more votes to be counted — but the ordeal is far from over.
Races for Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General and State Representative for District 13 are automatically recounted.
And some county election results won’t be immediately confirmed. Cochise County and Mohave County have delayed certification. The state’s 15 counties have until Nov. 28 to send their findings to the Secretary of State’s office. The results are considered unofficial until December 5th.
In the nation’s biggest squeaker — the race for Arizona’s next attorney general — Democrat Kris Mayes led Republican Abe Hamadeh by just 510 votes out of more than 2.5 million.
Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs maintained a 0.6% lead over former TV host Kari Lake in the gubernatorial race.
The vote count came after officials in Maricopa, Arizona’s largest county, reported more than 1.5 million votes had been cast. “This surpassed the five-decade historical average of 56.3%,” The office tweeted.
The results follow a grueling campaign season that has riveted America’s political focus on Arizona.
That’s because Arizona, more than many other states, was viewed in many quarters as a litmus test of how candidates like Lake, who were backed by former President Donald Trump, would fare. Lake and several other Republican candidates backed Trump’s unproven claims of voter fraud in 2020.
Arizona is also among a dwindling number of “purple” states — with only slightly more registered Republicans than Democrats.
Now it’s about recounts – and possible allegations of electoral fraud or electoral discounts.
In the superintendent race, Democratic incumbent Kathy Hoffman conceded to Republican Tom Horne. Hoffman tweeted “After a hard fought race we came up short.” The race is still heading towards an automatic recount with Horne winning by a 0.36% margin.
In the state’s representative race for District 13, covering northwest Maricopa County and northern Yuma County, Jennifer Pawlik, a Democrat, leads with second- and third-place finishers Liz Harris and Julie Willoughby, both Republicans separated by just 270 votes. The top two will be chosen.
Under Arizona law, if a candidate wins by a margin of less than or equal to 0.5% of the total votes cast, an automatic recount will be activated. It used to be 1%, but this year the law changed.
“When the margin is tight, the state does a recount, regardless of whether a candidate or campaign asks them to. And this is an important part of ensuring that the state declares the correct winner after an election is completed,” said Deb Otis, FairVote’s research director, in a KJZZ interview.
FairVote, an election reform organization based in Maryland, found that recounts rarely change the bottom line.
“In nearly 6,300 elections over the past 22 years, a recount has changed the result exactly three times — and the margin has been well under 0.1 percent on each of those three occasions,” Otis said.
In addition, FairVote recommends that states automatically conduct statewide recounts with a margin of up to 0.1% as a best practice.
The Arizona gubernatorial race, one of the closest races, has been at the forefront of national news. claimed that some of their supporters were unable to cast ballots due to snafus at the polling station.
“Half of the polling centers that opened for the first time on Election Day (where the overwhelming majority of voters voted for Kari Lake) were not operational or had significant outages,” they said letter said.
This came after 20% of Maricopa’s electronic voting machines malfunctioned. A judge on election day dismissed a lawsuit filed by Lake, GOP US Senate nominee Blake Masters, and others, demanding voting centers be kept open later.