Maricopa County's Number of Remaining Ballots Unknown; Activists Urge Penzone, Carmona, to Retract Concessions

Categories: Election 2012
Photo by Matthew Hendley
The "500,000" is a guess, not a fact, as the true number of uncounted votes is unknown.
The Maricopa County Elections Department has given a straight answer about the number of ballots that still haven't been counted as of noon on the day after the election: they don't know.

Citizens for a Better Arizona activists went to the elections office today to get a clear number, as media reports have cited multiple estimates between 175,000 and 500,000 uncounted ballots, including both provisional ballots and early-voting ballots dropped off at polls on Election Day.

See also:
-Maricopa County Elections Department Starting Spanish Campaign
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-Maricopa County Elections Department Prints Wrong Date in Spanish
-Richard Carmona Fares Better Than President Obama, but Jeff Flake Will Be Senator
-Joe Arpaio Defeats Paul Penzone With Ease, and the Sheriff's Reign Continues

Linda Weedon, the deputy director of the Maricopa County Elections Department, said they're still counting the number of ballots, and although she clarified that elections officials don't know the number, she said it's probably around 100,000.

Weedon said having 100,000 provisional ballots and 100,000 early-voting ballots still to count after Election Day is "not unusual" for the county.

In response to CBA president Randy Parraz bringing up the possibility of 500,000 not being counted at this time, Weedon responded, "I don't think so."

Outside the elections office, Brendan Walsh -- the executive director of Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy -- said they wanted Paul Penzone, the Democratic challenger to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and Richard Carmona, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, to retract their concessions to their opponents.

"It's unacceptable for us to not know who our sheriff is today," he said.

Walsh pointed to previous voter-turnout figures for the reason he believes an estimate of 200,000 uncounted votes is too low.

In 2008, Arpaio defeated Democrat Dan Saban, with more than 1.3 million votes being counted in that race.

At the time of this post, almost 890,000 votes have been counted in the sheriff's race between Arpaio and Penzone. Arpaio's lead on Penzone currently stands at 88,123 votes.

It's difficult to compare voting in the Senate race since there hasn't been a Senate election in Arizona during presidential-election year -- which has a higher turnout than the mid-term elections -- since 2004. Other counties will have provisional ballots that need to be counted, too.

Parraz also noted that votes weren't cast or almost weren't cast due to various "errors, mistakes, and irregularities" in the voting process throughout the county.

Several CBA activists told their stories of not getting their early ballots, which is a complaint we've heard a lot. A lot. Most stories we've heard don't end with simply showing up to the correct polling location and casting a provisional ballot instead. There have been multiple complaints about not being on the voter rolls, or being incorrectly redirected to other polling locations before many of them finally get their hands on a provisional ballot.

There have also been rumors of a few polling locations simply closing their doors at 7 p.m. and sending people home even though they were already in line at the time, but we haven't haven't gotten any evidence of that, and haven't heard a first-hand account.

Back inside the elections office, Weedon said officials are currently finding out how many ballots remain -- a number that could come back today -- although the votes on those ballots probably won't be added up for several days.

That didn't please the activists who wanted their votes counted in a timely manner, instead of politicians conceding their races before their votes were added to the totals.

"They may be provisional ballots, but we're not provisional citizens," Parraz said, after explaining that these provisional ballots "can't be the rule instead of the exception."

Photo by Matthew Hendley
Activists inside the county elections office.

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No one should have conceded until all the votes were counted.  It sickens me to think of what we are stuck with again but it should be determined after every single vote is accounted for.


How Arpaio gets away with what he does, never seizes to amaze me.  No matter how sloppy he covers his tracks !


Underfunding and incompetence are both forms of voter suppression.  The Board of Supervisors and the Legislature better get on funding it and fixing this mess unless they want the feds in town again.  I would be happy to call them in myself.


The Arizona Constitution must be changed:  1)  Create the political office of Lieutenant Governor and make the office of Secretary of State non partisan;  2) Make the county election official offices nonpartisan.


This is not democracy but hypocrisy.  Why mess with the ballots or wait let me put it as why do we have the most disorganized, horribly planned elections.  Why don’t we catch up to the 21st century by using computerized ballots? 


4% for Arpaio's puppet candidate, nice job chump.  How long before you start your new job at the MCSO?


If there is one thing the Dems are consistent with, it's being poor losers.


No concession speeches should have been made. When you take into account where these provisional ballots were cast,Penzone's vote tally is sure to rise. By conceeding,Penzone is sending a wrong message to all the volunteers and voters that worked so hard and supported him.Even if the final count favors Arpaio,it will send a clear message to Arpaio that the electorate is tiring of his antics.............The fight to unseat Arpaio should begin as soon as possible. The Democratic Party needs to fight fire with fire. Arpaio raises most of his money from out of state,the Anti-Arpaio movement should do likewise. The re-election of Barack Obama has clearly show that this Nation is tired of the extremist right-wing,Tea Bagger positions. The anti-Arpaio movement needs to feed off of the current national sentiment and start raising money and support as soon as possible,if not we will be facing the same scenario in 2016,that is unless father time helps us along and takes care of the problem for us.

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

i dont really think the provisional ballots will help Penzone (i wish they would, i just dont think they will). he gave a good fight though.

david_saint01 topcommenter

they told us at the poll it would take 2 weeks to count the provisional ballots...


 @ZuluNiner  Computerized voting is notorious for hidden mistakes.  Many systems do not have any kind of paper trail where actual votes can be audited.  Training of local officials is insufficient.  Municipalities and states pay big bucks in maintenance and repair contracts -- and have no way to check if the tech hasn't re-programmed to get the outcome the voting machine company wants. 


It isn't a coincidence the both the Bush family and one of Romney's sons have large holdings in companies that make computerized voting machines.


Democrats dodged a bullet this year, except in Arizona, but look for more of the same attempts at voter suppression in the next elections.


We all need to push on our local, state and federal officials to fix it.


 @yourproductsucks Yourmindsucks:  So you think hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots 4 days after the election is acceptable?  Are you suggesting that we just accept it and slink away because somebody with less than 1 brain cell might call us "poor loser"?    And, by the way, re-electing the POTUS, increasing the majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, and eliminating the super majorities in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Arizona legislature isn't losing.  It's winning and progress.


 @david_saint01 That is unacceptable.  The number ofballots declared provisional is unacceptable.  The number of duly registered people who were given provisional ballots is unacceptable.  Incompetence is unacceptable, underfunding is unacceptable.


while your googling- bush voting machines, also search for george soros ,same thing.

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