by Jim Nintzel
With just a few thousand votes separating winners from losers in Southern Arizona's congressional races, many folks are wondering how many ballots are left to count.
Well, Pima County officials are still trying to get a handle on that number.
Chris Roads of the Pima County Recorder's Office tells The Range that an estimated 25,000 early ballots were dropped off at polling places yesterday. Those ballots will be processed by the Recorder's Office by the end of the day and then sent over to the Pima County Elections Division for counting.
Then there are another
25,000 12,500 or so "provisional ballots." (See update, below.) These are ballots cast by voters who have moved or who requested early ballots and then decided to vote at the polls on Election Day or otherwise hit some kind of snag. Those take longer to process, since each one requires a brief investigation on a county worker's part. On average, each one takes about 15 minutes, says Roads.
The Recorder's Office, by law, has 10 days to wrap work on provisional ballots. Roads says it may take that long to sort through them all, even with staffers working on them from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Similar mop-up operations are going on in the out counties.
We'll bring you updates—such as breakdowns between congressional districts—as we get them.
UPDATE: We've heard new numbers from Chris Roads: There were 25,300 early ballots dropped off at the polls and, according to the Division of Elections, just 12,500 provisional ballots. The Recorder's Office won't be sorting them out according to congressional district because that would slow down the primary job of processing them.