by Jim Nintzel
There are an estimated 80,000 votes left to count in Pima County, according Elections Director Brad Nelson.
While it’s unknown how many of those ballots are in Congressional District 2, it’s possible that there are enough to allow Congressman Ron Barber to close the gap with GOP challenger Martha McSally. Barber trails McSally by 1,312 votes, according to the latest figures from the Arizona Secretary of State.
Roughly 54,000 of Pima County’s outstanding ballots are early ballots that got dropped off at the polls or arrived in the mail too late for processing before yesterday’s count.
Another 26,000 are provisional ballots that were cast because people arrived at their polling places but they ran into some kind of SNAFU.
The Range is hearing accounts of problems from voters who arrived at their correct polling stations but discovered that their names were not on the lists, forcing them to cast provisional ballots. One such voter spoke with The Range yesterday.
Nelson confirmed that he had heard similar stories about “misprints or omissions within the signature rosters" at polling places.
He said he doesn’t know if the problems were in specific areas.
“The Recorder is responsible for printing up those registers and rosters and would give you a better answer to that, but my gut feeling, from what I heard from the polls yesterday and traveling through the Tucson metropolitan area, it was countywide,” Nelson says. “I don’t know how deep the problem was, but I know they were experiencing it in Ajo, in midtown, in the Foothills. It seemed to be a little bit of everywhere.”
Here’s the breakdown of the latest estimates on early ballots, according to Nelson:
• About 30,900 early ballots were dropped off at polling places yesterday. Those ballots still need to go through the process of having a signature check at the Recorder’s Office before they can be shipped to the Elections Division to be counted.
• About 10,000 early ballots arrived in the mail before yesterday’s deadline are still at the Recorder’s Office and awaiting the signature verification process.
• About 13,500 ballots have been through the signature-verification process and are in the hands of the Elections Division, but Nelson’s staff did not have time to count them before beginning the tabulation of Election Day ballots. Nelson expects to start counting those ballots at 1 p.m. today.
• About 100 early ballots are coming in from satellite offices of the Recorder’s Office.